SOTA helps occupational therapy students improve knowledge for future career

Emily Wakeman

In a field as broad as Occupational Therapy, many OT majors find it difficult to find the right area of concentration for them. Student Occupational Therapy Organization (SOTA), introduces students to the world of Occupational Therapy.

SOTA’s president, Amy Peluso, said Occupational Therapists “help individuals to gain independence in their lives despite disabilities.” The disabilities cover a wide range, including physical, developmental, social, psychological and mental. Occupational Therapists work with people of all ages, from children to the elderly.

Because of the broad spectrum of people OT students will potentially work with when they begin their careers, it is important to gain the experience necessary for when they enter the work force.

Through SOTA’s many events and activities, OT majors can not only gain experience, but also get a taste of what type of career they would like to have and what type of people they are interested in working with in the future.

SOTA’s activities clearly help OT majors to gain experience, but they serve another purpose as well- they allow its members to reach out to the community by doing volunteer work, and spread awareness throughout the area about Occupational Therapy as a profession.

In the past, SOTA has held an OT fair where students could learn about the many areas within the field of Occupational Therapy. They used equipment that simulated auditory hallucinations so they could replicate the experience of someone with a psychological disorder such as schizophrenia, thus helping them to understand the minds of people they may work with in the future.

SOTA’s most recent activity involved approximately fifty members who created Valentine’s Day cards and delivered them to the elderly at Hamden Health Senior Center on Valentine’s Day.

For two weekends this spring, many SOTA members will work at Camp Hemlocks in Hebron, Conn. At the camp, members will assist disabled campers. In April, they will also participate in an Easter egg hunt with patients from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

The first week of April is OT Week, during which SOTA will have a table set up in the Student Center.

In the near future, SOTA will also take a trip to Southern Connecticut State University to view the University’s new adaptive technology, which will be important for the students to be familiar with in their future careers.

Peluso, who just became SOTA’s president this semester, feels confident that the organization is “headed in the right direction.” In the short time since she has begun her role as a leader of the organization, she has already instituted a new officer in the organization, the Community Outreach Director, whose job is to coordinate all of SOTA’s community programs and activities.

Overall, Peluso said the organization aims to be an asset for OT majors.

SOTA provides them with resources and information about the field, and a multitude of opportunities to gain experience working with those with disabilities. Ultimately, SOTA’s message to OT members is to learn how to deal with the person, rather than the problem with which that person is afflicted.

The next meeting will be held on Feb. 26 at 4:15 p.m. in Echlin 215. Meeting dates are also posted on the SOTA bulletin board in Tator Hall.

For more information e-mail [email protected] edu or faculty adviser [email protected]