Friday, August 20, 2010

Sinai Occupational Therapist Helps Children in Quito

Many LifeBridge Health employees use their hard-earned vacation time to visit different countries to help those in need. Today we're featuring Sinai Hospital occupational therapist Katie Cooper, pictured at left.

Cooper, who works on the inpatient neurological rehabilitation unit at Sinai, was invited on a 3-week trip to Quito, Ecuador with OT students from St. Catherine's University in Minnesota. She supervised two occupational therapists and two certified occupational therapist assistants at Fundacion Reina de Quito. The students, who have Down Syndrome, can attend the school up to the time they are 6 years old. Cooper and the students worked with them on a variety of activities.

"Many of the children lack in sensory integration," Cooper says. "The program for occupational therapy is being developed, and we were there to help them with best practices."

Other projects included building a shower chair for a student who had athetoid cerebral palsy, a vast improvement over the school staff trying to bathe him in a sink. Cooper speaks Spanish, an asset that "definitely helps."

Cooper plans to return to Quito. She says being an occupational therapist and giving back has been a lifelong dream.

"When I was in seventh grade, the Girl Scouts had a Women in the Workplace Day," she says. "An occupational therapist talked about what she did, and I said, 'that's what I want to do.' Occupational therapy is about changing people's lives and allowing them more independence."

Are you interested in being an occupational therapist at LifeBridge Health? Click here to see our openings.

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