Welcome Megan and Lauren!

Occupational therapy (OT) promotes health and well-being by supporting participation in everyday occupations. This includes activities that people need and want to do. Occupational therapy promotes physical, mental, and social well-being, and therapeutic goals are often unique to the interests and values of individual clients. Occupational therapists work with individuals of all ages and across many settings, including home, school, hospital, and community-based settings, like GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago. 

This month we are joined by two doctoral occupational therapy students, Megan and Lauren. Megan and Lauren are completing their fieldwork at GiGi’s as they expand their professional experience in community-based settings. The Rush Occupational Therapy program is a 3-year doctoral program that combines academic and clinical experiences to result in competent entry-level occupational therapists. Fieldwork experiences allow students to apply the knowledge they have learned in classes to practice through hands-on experiences with clients. For the next two weeks, Megan and Lauren will be completing their fieldwork experience with a focus on supporting GiGi’s group and individual programming. 

Megan is a second-year occupational therapy student at Rush University who hopes to work as a pediatric occupational therapist. She graduated in 2020 from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, where she was introduced to the rehabilitation field through various volunteer and work experiences at pediatric and adult clinics. She is excited to spend time at GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago over the next two weeks gaining competence with running groups in a community-based setting. She is especially excited to join the Crawlers & Walkers group, which is representative of the ages she hopes to work with in the future. During this time, she hopes to observe the development of fine and gross motor skills through fun, hands-on activities. In her free time, Megan enjoys trying new restaurants and spending time with her dog.

Lauren is a second-year Occupational Therapy student at Rush University. She grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and studied Wildlife Science at the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! Lauren found her way into the rehabilitation field through time spent with individuals with Down syndrome. She’s very excited to make new friends at GiGi’s. In the future, Lauren plans to incorporate her wildlife science background into her practice as an occupational therapist. She hopes that she can start here at GiGi’s by working with the interns and promoting independence in their unique responsibilities. She is incredibly excited to learn more about the interns’ maintenance of plants around the Playhouse and explore new ways to incorporate nature into their daily activities. She’s looking forward to the new skills and experiences she’ll develop over the next two weeks. This includes running groups and applying self-determination theory into practice.

Together, Megan and Lauren are excited to learn from the participants at GiGi’s and better understand how to best serve the Down syndrome community in Chicago. During their time here, they hope to also gain experience with documentation in a community setting, develop new resources for GiGi’s Playhouse Chicago, and build lasting friendships with Playhouse participants and their families. They are excited to start and look forward to meeting everyone this month!

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