Occupational Therapy students engage in hands-on learning at renowned OT clinic

Occupational Therapy students use the equipment at the Koomar Center in Newton, Mass.
UNE Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T.) students travelled to the at the OTA-Koomar Center in Newton, Massachusetts, on July 23.

A group of 15 students in the University of New England Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (M.S.O.T) program Class of 2023 recently traveled to an internationally recognized occupational therapy clinic, where they participated in lab work to further their understanding of sensory integration and processing.

The trip — which occurs typically during the spring semester while students are learning about Occupational Therapy and Children and Youth — had been halted the past two years due to COVID-19.

The students ventured to the OTA-Koomar Center in Newton, Massachusetts, on July 23. There, they participated in a two-hour lab related to sensory integration, a practice that aims to help individuals with sensory processing difficulties by using specialized equipment and advanced training to address sensory processing barriers that interfere with everyday life.

In the lab, UNE students analyzed sensory integration equipment and methods to determine what sensory systems are targeted with each piece of equipment and how that sensory input relates to day-to-day function and engagement in occupations. Students were given the opportunity to experience the equipment for themselves and learn from occupational therapists employed by The Koomar Center. One of the therapists, UNE alum Erica White, M.S.O.T. ’19, was present and facilitated the lab experience.

“The trip provided deeper insight into the frame of reference of sensory integration and addressed how goals in a clinic relate to function within natural settings,” said Kris Winston, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, program director and associate professor of occupational therapy at UNE.

The OTA-Koomar Center is internationally recognized for its innovation, research, treatment, and evaluation of children, youth, and adults with sensory integration and sensory processing challenges. The center was named for the late Jane Koomar, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, who served as a mentor to Elizabeth Crampsey, Ed.D, OTR/L, BCPR, associate clinical professor of occupational therapy at UNE.

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The full group at the OTA-Koomar Center

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The lab is full of equipment for treating sensory processing challenges

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