This summer we had the pleasure of inviting two Occupational Therapy students to The Dance Ability Movement to complete their final clinical placements, a last requirement prior to graduation. We had a very positive experience and are thankful for this opportunity for our own growth and learning as well in our roles as preceptors. Our student OT, Rachel, from McMaster University has written a reflection which she has allowed us to share! Rachel took her first dance class with us this summer…and has come leaps and bounds in her role as a (student) OT in the studio.
“Tiaras, breakdancing, stickers, and pliés: all words I never thought I’d use to describe my summer. To my pleasant surprise my summer consisted of all these things and more.
As an occupational therapy student about to graduate, I was equally nervous and excited to be matched with the Dance Ability Movement for my final clinical placement. How would occupational therapy be applied in a dance program? What would my role be? Although these thoughts were running through my head I was also thinking that the Dance Ability Movement combines some of my passions: occupational therapy, community health and leisure.
The first dance class I attended made all my concerns disappear. It was absolute chaos: a preschool dance class with 4 completely unique, spirited dancers. There was running, yelling, crying, laughing, IPod hijacking, dancing feet, smiles, stickers, and costumes. Somehow in the midst of the organized chaos each dancer was engaged; either sensing the beat of the song, matching the arm movement of their volunteer buddy or even singing along. Soon the role for occupational therapy became obvious. Occupational therapists enable individuals to be engaged in meaningful activities. In this program, dance is the occupation and the OT uses strategies to enable full participation and engagement in the dance class. Seems straight forward, however I found I was constantly challenged this summer to find creative ways to engage dancers. Like the Dance Ability Movement says: every person is unique and everyone has the ability to dance. It is our responsibility to highlight the uniqueness of each dancer and provide opportunity for expression through dance. With only a few days left of placement and the summer coming to an end I can honestly say I have learned so much about the benefits of leisure, and creative movement.
Needless to say, it is very easy to become utterly invested in this program due to Mallory and Jade’s passion and motivation and the dancers’ satisfaction during each dance class. I have learned that there is no better feeling than watching someone become completely engaged in what they love and it is a privilege to be a part of that experience. Hopefully this program inspires other professionals and members of the community to create additional opportunities for individuals of all abilities to participate in leisure occupations. All I know is that I’ve never been happier to share my summer experiences of breakdancing, tiaras, stickers and pliés.” – Rachel Martini
Rachel, congratulations on completing your final fieldwork. You have gone above and beyond in so many ways; you are an incredible therapist, student, and dancer!
See you in the studio soon!
Miss Mallory & Miss Jade