Sunday, April 19, 2015

Experts in the Classroom: Meeting an OT

For our 3rd Design project this semester we are looking at how we can use Design Thinking and design process to help others in our school division. Our beginning essential question was, " how can we design something to improve accessibility in our schools? " For this project I found a great place to start. We invited our School division OT into my class to talk about the work that she does in our schools. 

Students learned about what an OT is, what schooling they need to do to become an OT, and how an OT goes about analyzing what supports are required to address the needs of the individual. We learned about they consider PEO: the person, Environment, and Occupation when supporting them, and how a task analysis is used to break down the physical and cognitive steps when doing something, such as the task of washing your hands. When broken down into it's parts, there are a TON of things to consider!
One of the common themes in the OT field is the idea of user-centred design, which is EXACTLY what we have been working on in our concurrent project. Key to user-centred design is interviewing and observing the individual you are designing for. Having quality questions, recording notes, and observing is essential. This ties in perfectly with technology such as iPads or iPhones which can be used to document the individual performing a task and used later to properly analyze actions.
Students listening to our OT and doing a task analysis

The last thing the OT left with us is an activity to work on next week to increase awareness by way of language. Using PEOPLE FIRST language when referring to individuals with disabilities including proper terminology. Our language must always place the person first, and the disability second. 
For example, we might have previously said, " The person who suffers from cerebral palsy", when what we should say instead is, "A person who has cerebral palsy." 

I'm excited for this project to keep going! Next week our OT is going to bring us case studies for our design teams to analyze and then start the design process and make things that can assist them in our school. Stay tuned! 

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