Second-year students receive inaugural Changemaker Award from Board of Governors
Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
Four students from the first Occupational Therapy Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant program offered at Algonquin College received the first Student Changemaker Award from the Board of Governors at the board meeting on Monday evening.
Robyn Dusseldorp, Rebecca Arbuckle, Suzanne Mondoux and Sage Barclay, all second-year students in the two-year Ontario college diploma program, received the award for their work delivering a Fine Motor Skills Clinic to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
Dusseldorp told the Board about some of the therapies involved in the program, such as using marbles from the bottom of a basin of bubbly water that the children must retrieve and another involving a hula hoop.
“We would get down with the children and work at eye level,” she said, “which builds rapport with the children and they love it.”
The women participated in the seven-week pilot of the program, which was delivered during the fall term at the Early Learning Centre. It focused on the development of skills in the areas of sensory-motor, self-regulation, social interaction, and play.
The program was developed in collaboration with a team of pediatric occupational therapists who supervised the students in delivering free services, one on one, to the children. It was delivered partnership with Ausome Ottawa, which uses sport to support children with autism.
Arbuckle talked about the dramatic change she saw in the child she worked with over the weeks. On the first night, the child said only four words.
“By the end, he was practically speaking in full sentences to me,” she said. “His mother couldn’t believe what a change there was over these seven weeks.
“I am just glad that I got to be part of the program.”
Student Changemaker Award, which is a way for the Board of Governors to formally recognize a remarkable student success or project.
Board Vice-Chair Peter Nadeau presented the students with the award.
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