Recent Occupational Therapy and Maine LEND graduate presents at state conference

UNE representatives at OT conference
Allison Casciotti, Emily Thomas, Kris Winston, Kathryn Willer, and Kathryn Loukas represented UNE at the Maine Occupational Therapy Association Fall Conference

The Maine Occupational Therapy Association Fall Conference included an impressive group from UNE.

Kathryn Willer, M.S.O.T. ’22, a recent graduate of the Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program, presented on her Maine LEND project while engaging practitioners from all over the state in an important round table discussion about the role of occupational therapy in developing and supporting occupations for young adults with disabilities.

“Creating post-secondary education and extracurricular occupations for young adults with disabilities” included presentations by Willer and Kathryn Loukas, OTD, M.S., OTR/L, FAOTA, training director of Maine LEND and clinical professor of occupational therapy.

The presentation was well attended and positively received by occupational therapy practitioners from throughout Maine.

Occupational therapy is key to supporting young adults with disabilities in activities of daily living, such as time management, money management, and community mobility. It also assists them with work, education, and leisure occupations.

Willer’s elective project in the Maine LEND program was mentored by Audrey Bartholomew, Ph.D., associate professor and special education faculty with LEND. It explores options to include young people with disabilities on the UNE campus, starting with extracurricular activities and work options and moving toward full participation in the University community.

The work continues to be spearheaded by the Maine LEND program, which supports inclusive programs, family centered practice, self-advocacy, and the rights of people with disabilities.

Kris Winston, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, director of UNE’s Occupational Therapy program, attended the presentation along with the two current Maine LEND trainees, Allison Casciotti (M.S.O.T., ’23) and Emily Thomas (M.S.O.T., ’23).

"It was wonderful to see Katie, a recent UNE M.S.O.T. alum, presenting the work that she has done with UNE LEND, sharing her experience and the results of her LEND trainee project with the Maine OT community,” stated Winston. “Her work, completed with the guidance of her mentor Kathryn Loukas, LEND, and OT faculty was well received by session participants"

The conference was held on Oct. 22 in Freeport.

Kathryn Willer
LEND trainees with Kate Loukas