AffiliationUniversity of Southern Indiana
TitleUSI OT/OTA Toy Accessibility Project
MetadataShow full item record
The role of an occupational therapy professional is to ensure that individuals can participate in daily life activities. Play is the work of children. All children grow and develop from play experiences. For some children with disabilities, participation in play can be limited due to physical and/or cognitive deficits. Children with disabilities can utilize switch-operated toys to more easily engage in play. The occupational therapy (OT) and occupational therapy assistant (OTA) programs decided to work together to modify toys for children with disabilities in our community as a service learning activity.
Occupational therapy students and occupational therapy assistant students make up the USI Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA). The SOTA program applied and received the USI Endeavor Grant in the fall of 2018. The grant was written by two OT students, one OTA student, and two OT faculty members. The funds from the grant will allow students to learn how to adapt battery operated items using switches. Students will be able to use this skill in future professional occupational therapy practice.
According to Hamm (2005), play experiences provide children with practice for skills that they require in adult life. Children learn from interactions with peers through play. The OT and OTA students received education and training on modifying a battery-operated plush toy into a switch operated toy. The process for adapting the toys was provided by the robotics program at Ivy Tech. This process included learning how a simple electrical circuit works, evaluating the toy, splicing together wires, and connecting the switch to the toy. Toys were presented to the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation and Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center during December and January. A total of 50 toys were switch adapted by the OT and OTA students.
After the toy adaptation sessions were completed, OT and OTA students were asked to participate in an IRB approved research study regarding the service learning experience. Results indicated most students believed this activity helped them make a difference and become more aware of the needs in the community. A majority of the OT and OTA students also reported this activity reinforced problem-solving skills and critical thinking. The OT and OTA students will present the outcomes of the project at the USI Endeavor Symposium in April 2019.
Hamm, E. M., Mistrett, S. G., & Ruffino, A.G. (2005). Play outcomes and satisfaction with toys and technology of young children with special needs. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(1), 29-35. Doi:10.1177/016264340602100103