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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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Electives and Field Trips


January 21, 2020
by Kat


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Second semester of your second year in the OT program at USC is the freedom semester! This is when you are tasked with a difficult yet rewarding, complicated yet exciting, cut throat task of choosing . . . drumroll pleaseeee . . . your own electives!! Having the freedom to choose electives is kind of a double edged sword. There are so many great electives to choose from. There’s early intervention, acute care, motor rehab, to name a few. You can even opt to take elective courses on the main campus in other departments. Let’s say you are interested in running your own clinic one day, so maybe you take a business course. Second semester of your second year is meant for students to take lead in their learning and pursue topics and subjects that align with their interests and their future careers. If you are like me though, every class sounds interesting, which is why making a decision on what to take can be so difficult. There are still a few courses that are required, however, you get to choose how to fill up the rest of your credits.

Anywaysss . . . one of the classes I am taking right now is OT 571 Assistive Technology with Dr. Colin Lenington. Today in class we had the opportunity to go to Mobility Evaluation Program in the city of Bell where we met with individuals who specialize in helping people with disabilities be independent with their driving. During our field trip (Field trips in grad school? What??), my class and I were able to learn about some of the cool adaptive equipment that can be used to help people with varying disabilities to drive. If you think about it, driving is such an integral part of our everyday occupations, especially here in LA. It was such an eye opening experience for me. I had no idea this type of equipment was out there. As a class, we even had the opportunity to see the assistive tech we learned about in use with 2 clients that were there to demonstrate their personalized equipment.

I am not sure the specific realm of OT I want to go into yet. But I do know that I was blown away by the impact that helping someone with a task that I take for granted, driving, can have on an individual who navigates through the world differently than I do. Long story short, I am excited to see what else I learn in OT 571 Assistive Technology, along with my other courses. Cheers to an exciting semester . . . and to hopefully figuring out what area of OT I want to go into.

Check out my class and some assistive tech! 

Pictured is the current Assistive Technology class with two clients from the visited site

My Assistive Technology class with 2 clients that shared their experience with us. We are so grateful for their willingness to share with us! (Photo shared with permission from all individuals depicted)

Pictured is an adapted steering wheel to allow clients to drive in the horizontal plane instead of the usual vertical plane

Here is an example of an adapted steering wheel a client may need to allow them to drive in a horizontal plane versus the “typical” vertical plane. This type of steering wheel is similar to what is seen on school buses. The steering is situated over the client’s lap as opposed to being mounted on the dashboard. On the floor of the car, you can also see where a wheelchair can be secured in place instead of the original car seat.