February 15, 2019
Fifty students from the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) program recently traveled to Newton, Massachusetts, for a two-hour lab of learning, exploration and laughter at the Koomar Center.
This strong community-building experience enhanced the students’ participation in their lab course Children and Youth.
The Koomar Center is internationally recognized for its innovation, research, treatment, and evaluation of children, youth, and adults with sensory integration and sensory processing challenges.
During the visit students analyzed sensory integration equipment to determine which systems are targeted by each apparatus. They also learned how that sensory input relates to day to day function.
The students also experienced the sensory input themselves and learned from expert occupational therapists employed by the Koomar Center.
The trip provided deeper insight into the frame of reference of sensory integration and how goals in a clinic relate to function within natural settings. It also introduced students to both the Fidelity Measure for Ayres Sensory Integration and the Goal Attainment Scale.
The center is named for Jane Koomar, a leader, innovator, scholar and educator in the field of occupational therapy. She was a mentor to thousands of occupational therapy practitioners, as well as children and families. Koomar passed away from cancer in February 2013.
Her legacy is carried on through the work at the center and at the SPIRAL Foundation, the center’s non-profit research arm. The SPIRAL Foundation began in 2001 with a mission to increase understanding and acceptance of sensory integration and sensory processing dysfunction through education and research.
Koomar was a mentor for Elizabeth Crampsey, M.S., OTR/L, BCPR, assistant clinical professor in the UNE Occupational Therapy program, who led the field trip with adjunct faculty member Stacy Maguire, OTR/L.
The trip was made possible by the generous support of the Westbrook College of Health Profession’s dean’s office and the support of Kris Winston, Ph.D., OTR/L, M.S.O.T., program director.