This week Lab4Living welcomed Aisha Tawahni, Daniel Schuler, Aline Rueede and Evelyn Stainhauser, four occupational therapy students from Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland who are interested in learning more about design and occupational therapy. They were joined by Sheffield Hallam occupational therapy student Connie Kendall who is currently completing her ‘extended scope’ placement at Lab4Living.
Over the week the group took part in workshops such as the exhibition in a box project which was used to stimulate discussion around technology and ageing. The group also viewed the MA design students’ exhibition work whose brief was to create a product to improve people with memory problem’s quality of life.
The students share reflections on their experiences and learning from the week:
“During our training as occupational therapists our interest in finding individual solutions in terms of aids and environment adaptations constantly grew. Our stay here at Sheffield Hallam University and the insight at lab4living confirmed our ideas and we gained a new way of thinking. As occupational therapists we often find ourselves seeking individual adaptations within our client’s environment. But why not think broader by finding a wider solution at the root of the problem? What causes the problem? Can we prevent the problem emerging? Designers and health professionals working collaboratively enables possibilities to find preventive solutions across a wide population and a future orientated way of working.
As occupational therapists we work holistically and promote self-esteem and self-efficacy. We believe in promoting meaningful activities and leading a life of your own volition in order to achieve better overall well-being and health. The approach in creating preventive products and environments mirrors the philosophy of occupational therapy”.
The week has been a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge about how occupational therapists work in different countries and how the context influences the practice of occupational therapy. We have been given a chance to learn about how designers and occupational therapists can work together to create new products and environments that are better for everyone. We have no doubt that our learning here will influence our future practice and thinking about occupational therapy.