Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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The Road to Centennial Vision: USC–Thailand Collaborations


December 17, 2012

Classes Externships International

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I recently had a poster presentation for my community programming class! It was super exciting to be able to see the finish products of our semester long work. Throughout the project, I learned that although working independent has its perks and glory, it could be very hard to motivate oneself to do project. No joke. Even though I felt comfortable asking my professor any questions I had, it would have been nice to have a partner whom I could bounce ideas with. So, I’ve learned my lesson, but in case you’re wondering about my project, which I’m really excited about. Here is a little synopsis of it.

Title: The Road to Centennial Vision: USC–Thailand Collaborations

Goal: My goal for this potential collaboration is to help USC occupational therapy students and faculty realize the American Occupational Therapy Association Centennial Vision through expanding international experiences and collaborations in ongoing and future projects in order to become more “globally connected.”


  1. To foster a relationship between USC OT Division and Thai universities and organizations
  2. To address a lack of resources available for students and faculty interested in getting international experience in Thailand
  3. To provide unique opportunities for collaboration in future projects and research
  4. To offer a reference by those interested in joining or creating new programs in Thailand so that they know what services are already being provided, what needs remain, and what   possibilities for collaborations exist
  5. To foster a better understanding of the Thai culture and way of life and promote tourism

One potential collaboration I see happening is with the Thai Elephant-Assisted Therapy Project. Here’s a little more about the project:

From the research that I have gathered, a unique opportunity for collaboration is with the Thai Elephant-Assisted Therapy Project (TETP): an innovative intervention for individuals with autism. The TETP was started in 2007 with a two-fold intention: to sustain conservation and welfare of elephants and address autism. The program has provided a binding force that allows for collaboration across disciplines from researchers, practitioners, and students. The research studies have collected data from participants ranging from 11-19 years old and only female elephants were used. Animals that have been known to provide such therapeutic benefits include horses (hippotherapy) and dogs. Young elephants are used in the program since they tend to be more playful, which is considered a plus when working with children with ASD since they tend to have difficulties engaging in play. According to Zailani (2012), the activities incorporated in the program are preparation (e.g., money management when buying snacks for elephants), sensory integration (e.g., singing the elephant song and riding), social skills (e.g., with each other and elephants), and daily living skills (e.g., bathing and grooming). This program is available for free for children with ASD and has been researched by Dr. Nuntanee Satiansukpon, at Chiang Mai University.

I’m planning to do my leadership capstone in March in Thailand and would love to be able to see this in action. Stay tuned!