A quick reflection on my time with second year and Japanese students.

I spent last week volunteering my time at my university. I worked with occupational therapy students going into the second year, as well as with postgraduate students from Japan. The experience gave me insight into how much I’ve learned over the past three years, as I could compare my own thinking with that of the second year students and see the increased depth of my considerations. I thought of a lot more applications for the virtual reality technology we used, and I probably should have kept my mouth shut so that the others in my group could think a bit harder! I swear I tried, but it hurt when they obviously skipped over something. I’m also glad I got a chance to be a part of a real research project, but I’ve already written about that.

I also realised how much I miss Japan, and it has inspired me to tackle the Japanese language again! I do have some time to spare until I can find a job, and while I’ll definitely be trying to apply to a job a day (with most of my focus on OT-related work), I also want to use the time for ‘personal growth’. I’m going to read a little each day, try to read an article every other day, paint a picture or two and learn some more programming.

Flan has a job! I have research experience! And news from today.

Lots of things to share with you today!

Flan has a job.

In the space of two days, Flan received two job offers. Listening to his personal OT, he chose the one that would give him a better quality of life, even though they offered him less money. (He’ll still be earning more than I’ll be any time soon…)

I’m still looking for one. There seems to be a sudden drop in OT jobs on offer in Oxfordshire. I’ve just found an administrative position within the Oxford Wheelchair Services though, which I think might be a good starting point. Sure, it’s only a Band 3 position, but if I want to work in high-tech assistive technology one day, a good place to start is becoming familiar with wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are a form of assistive technology, and people who use wheelchairs will often use assistive technology. It’ll be a good learning opportunity, and maybe, just maybe, they’ll need a Band 5 OT in the near future, and then I can maybe get promoted to that.

In the meantime, I’ve been helping out with my university’s Japanese visitors and conducting a one-day research project.

Postgraduate nursing and occupational therapy students from Japan’s Tokyo Metropolitan University have been visiting Oxford the past few weeks to learn English and gain international collaborative research experience. They’ve been working with a handful of first year OT students (almost second year now) this week. The local OT students are getting a head start on their peers and learning about different research methods; the Japanese students are already familiar with research methods – but only in Japanese. I was asked to come on board because of my familiarity with Japanese culture, and because I’m a computer wizard.

Today involved me being on data duty, inputting data from the demographic questionnaires and post-VR experience questionnaires. I got my first taste of being on the researchers’ side of the fence, dealing with participant codes and confidentiality forms. It was great fun, and I enjoyed comparing pre- and post-experience opinions on how virtual reality could be used in rehabilitation, particularly with the elderly. Just looking at the average scores for these questions, I could see that the experience of using the VR technology positively altered students’ opinions on whether it could be used for rehabilitation.

Now, to finish off, some…

Interesting news articles

Ofsted warns that disabled children are more vulnerable to neglect and abuse.

Computers may be diagnosing your diseases in the near future.

Tony Nicklinson dies days after losing his ‘right to die’ case. (More news from the Guardian on assisted suicide)

A positive take on locked-in syndrome – Michael Cubiss. I actually teared up a bit! But I do believe in allowing people to have the choice to end their life. Who are we to dictate whether a person should suffer against their will or not?

If you’re a man, you may want to rethink having kids the older you get. A genetic study has linked paternal age with some mental health problems, such as autism and schizophrenia.

Giving babies antibiotics may lead to weight gain later on. 

End, Middle, Beginning.

End.

I had my final exam on Thursday. If you recall, I had ten days to prepare four case studies, and two case studies would be in the exam. The case studies were mild/moderate learning disabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. I was hoping to get the LD and TBI case studies, but alas, neither were on the exam. I’m sure I passed, but I would have felt more confident answering the questions if I could relate to my experience working with brain injuries. Having never worked with someone with a learning disability, I don’t know why I wanted that case study, but then I’ve never encountered RA, nor have I really worked with someone with schizophrenia.

Middle.

The next few days involved trying to reestablish occupational balance. I started reading for pleasure again. I decided to try catching up with some of my TV shows. I played a strategy computer game with Flan and my brother to exercise my brain in a different way. My face is already starting to look clearer from the drop in my stress levels.

Then today I started working – temporarily – at a school in Newbury. I loved it! It’s too bad that I have to drive all the way there and back, and that it’s temporary.

Beginning.

I have to really start looking for an OT job and figuring out the magic formula to get to the interview stage. I think I’ve found one just inside the M25 down the M40, so I could commute (yeah, I hate driving, but I love Oxford). It’s a paediatric centre, and they need a Band 5. I think I have a better chance getting an interview for this one than I have most jobs on offer, as I have absolutely no acute experience, nor orthopaedic, nor stroke, nor community. On the other hand, I did my dissertation on using video games with children with cerebral palsy, I had an adolescent mental placement, I had my final placement in a school for children with dyspraxia and I am now working in another school. I think paediatrics is the way to go! Plus, I might get to venture a bit into assistive technology, hopefully!