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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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Eclectic Electives


March 29, 2022


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The Chan elective options are great for certification hours if you know you’re passionate about specialties like sensory integration or hand therapy. As someone who didn’t want to specialize just yet, I decided to register for a courseload that spanned a bunch of different topics. You can take 12-14 units of electives, and I took full advantage of that with 5 electives.

OT 560: School-Based
I was in the pediatrics immersion my first fall and it was entirely online, so I took this in the hopes of a general review of pediatrics essentials. I never really saw myself working in schools, but 560 has been so fun that now it’s looking pretty nice later down the line in my career. The class includes creative intervention projects, practice with assessments, and this semester we had an opportunity to volunteer with local high school students. This class inspired my externship experience working with high schoolers - more on that in my next blog 😉

OT 574: Motor Control
This class was so highly recommended to me by previous students and I’ll continue to recommend it to future Chan students - it is a must-take if you’re looking for more hands-on learning. We have been learning motor control techniques and applying them to weekly treatment sessions with real patients who have had a stroke. We develop treatment plans and execute them in small groups to help the patients achieve their goals. My group’s patient this semester has been an amazing teacher for us, and I look forward to working with him every week.

Beware though, the nighttime format is not for everyone - this class sometimes runs til almost 10pm! We’re lucky to have engaging professors Remy and Heidi to keep us engaged as best they can.

OT 575: Dysphagia Across the Lifespan
With my interest in working in the hospital setting, dysphagia seemed essential to take. Almost all of my patients in my first level II fieldwork had some form of dysphagia. In that specific hospital, this was handled entirely by SLPs, but I was interested in learning more about the role OT can play. This course only runs for the 1st 6 weeks of the semester, so we’re already done, and it was a whirlwind. Each week we went over assessment and treatment strategies for both pediatric and adult populations. One of my favorite assignments was the feeding lab, where we were given different textures of foods/liquids to test and analyze our own swallows.

OT 577: OS Seminar
If you’ve got NBCOT test anxiety, this is a super useful class. As we near the end of the program, we spend each class reviewing content and sample questions from each of the major topics that will be on the NBCOT. You’re probably fine to sit for the exam with just independent studying, but if you’re looking for more structured review - it’s both lowkey and helpful, 10/10.

OT 590: Directed Research
This class could really be anything you want it to. I have several friends doing research in one of our many amazing labs and getting course credit for it. Others, like myself, are working independently with a faculty member on a topic of interest. I’ve studied assistive technology for adults in courses for my previous degrees, and I wanted to do a deeper dive into AT for pediatrics. Dr. Linsey Grunes is my amazing faculty for this project who supports me as I work on literature reviews, expert interviews, and the development of an online AT catalog resource.

So this semester I’m all over the place, and I’m grateful that I get to do this before committing to one setting, at least for a while, after I graduate.