Service Learning is defined as a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Bringle & Hatcher, 1996). Here is a list of the dynamic service learning opportunities offered through the OUHSC occupational therapy program.
First year occupational therapy students work with clients at an adult day center and a nursing home to complete a horticulture project.
The American Occupational Therapy Association sponsors Backpack Awareness Day across the country in an effort to both market the profession of occupational therapy and encourage backpack safety. Second year occupational therapy students organize and carry out Backpack Awareness Day activities, aided by the first year OT students, throughout schools and in the community both in OKC and Tulsa.
Second year occupational therapy students apply assistive technology skills learned in the classroom. They meet with a friend or family member who has an assistive technology need. They then develop a plan to meet the need and design and create a piece of technology which is then given to the individual.
All three years of OT students are recruited to participate in a Rebuilding Together work day. Rebuilding Together is an organization that provides free home repair to low-income older adults, many of whom have some form of disability. OT students get involved by doing tasks such as painting houses or recommending grab bar placement in a bathroom.
The first year students identify an individual who would benefit from a home evaluation. With a partner, they complete a Physical Environment and Hazard Assessment. After the assessment, they provide the person with a list of generic safety suggestions that are generated in class.
Second year student dyads assigned work in a local shelter for people who are homeless under the supervision of a professional in the setting and of the course instructor.
Third year students choose a community or organization of their choice to do a creative final year project. They are to solicit the goals of the group and then facilitate a project that helps the group meet the group’s specific goals.