Three students from the Jefferson College of Health Sciences MSOT program had the opportunity to present at the first annual COTEC-ENOTHE Congress in Galway, Ireland.
The conference was a joint collaboration between the Council of Occupational Therapists for European Countries and the European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education. Seaton Ng, Lauren Pittard, and Khadija Randall attended the conference to present their research on the relationship between sleep hygiene and daytime behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Lauren also gave a presentation on the development of intercultural competence through international fieldwork, which is based on the personal growth eight MSOT students experienced while completing level I fieldwork in South Africa last summer.
Seaton, Lauren and Khadija enjoyed being immersed in the Irish culture and being surrounded by researchers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs who have a passion for occupational therapy. Interacting with diverse OT professionals allowed them to learn about the interests in other parts of the world. For example, many people were engaged during the students’ poster presentation because ASD is not a popular subject matter in their country, whereas the MSOT students were fascinated by the presentations on asylum seekers, because refugees are a large focus for OT practitioners in several European countries. Beyond discussions of asylum seekers, the students were also able to attend the presentation by the coauthor of Occupational Therapy without Borders, and presentation series on various diagnoses. Though surrounded by thousands of culturally diverse people, the MSOT students did not feel like fish out of water. Rather, they felt empowered to continue contributing to research in the global setting.