The Department of Occupational Therapy has an agreement with the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The aim of the collaboration is for both institutions to benefit from scholarly interaction. At present the two institutions are involved in a lecturer exchange. A student exchange is planned for the future.
The Department of Occupational Therapy has built a strong relationship with the Mamelodi community. Many occupational therapy-related activities for development have been implemented in partnership with the community, based on their expressed needs. The community, students, and staff members have been involved in activities such as home visits to people with disability, stimulation programmes for HIV/AIDS infected and affected children, developmental programmes for children with severe mental and physical disabilities, pre-vocational programmes for young adults, empowerment projects for various non-profit organisations, and many more.
The Department of Occupational Therapy has also been involved in the implementation of “Service Learning” in the Mamelodi community
Service learning in the community
All fourth year occupational therapy students participate in a six-week service learning module during the year. Students are placed in the Mamelodi community for this practical module.
Service learning provides opportunities for the students to:
- gain a deeper understanding of the aims and principles of primary health care and community developmentbroaden appreciation of the impact of occupational therapy services in the community
- enhance a sense of personal values and social responsibility
- apply critical thinking in planning, implementation and evaluation of projects
Occupational therapy intervention is aimed at facilitating processes to maximise the occupational performance of individuals and groups – especially those suffering from disability and/or deprivation (thus including people affected by poverty, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, and more).
Occupational performance has to do with being able to do all the activities (occupations) that are meaningful to an individual (including self-care activities, leisure pursuits, educational pursuits and work- or productivity-related activities) so that a person can contribute within their socio-cultural context adding to their quality of life.
Occupational Therapy activities/services in Mamelodi include:
- Establishing developmental programmes:
- for children with severe mental and physical disabilities
- for children with special educational needs
- for pre-school children affected by deprivation
- Facilitating care-giver/volunteer worker training at:
- Crèches and preschools
- Centres for children with disabilities
- Old age homes
- Pre-vocational programmes for young adults with cognitive and physical disabilities
- Leisure group activities for the elderly
Siyathemba Paediatric Clinic was started by the Occupational Therapy Department in 2011. This clinic provides free occupational therapy services to children/teenagers with physical as well as learning disabilities between the ages 0-18. It is located at the Mamelodi Campus, c/o Hinterland and Solomon Mahlangu Drive. See www.siyathembaclinic.weebly.com for more information.