The AHOS Program offers occupational therapy students an opportunity to complete a paediatric service-learning placement at local primary schools.
Based in purpose-built health hubs at each school (with dedicated student office and treatment spaces), intervention focuses on the areas of motor development, visual motor integration and visual perceptual skills.
Places are offered to cohorts of six OT students. There are four cohorts of students each year, one cohort per school term.
Each OT student pair is based within one or two of the eight primary schools in the Broken Hill township, and may also provide an outreach service to the preschools and /or primary schools in the outlying townships of Menindee, Wilcannia and Ivanhoe.
Using a service-learning model, students provide therapy services to preschool, kindergarten and year one pupils.
The student-run clinic offers a screening service (early identification, early intervention model) as well as one-on-one, small group and class-based therapy. Priority is given to teacher-identified pupils for assessment and intervention services.
The service runs throughout the year with each cohort of students further developing the program and resources and leaving a handover for the incoming student clinicians.
Program highlights reported by past occupational therapy students:
- Being involved in the School of the Air preschool classroom
- Menindee preschool
- Working with the wonderful children
- Assessing children out under the trees at Whitcliffs
- Learning about the similarities and differences between Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology practice
- Getting to know the kids
- Learning about project management
- Working flexibly across two schools to support my peers
- Being respected as a health professional
Reported highlights of Broken Hill experiences
- Helping at school fates
- Photo op. with the Minister for Health
- Cycling to Stephens Creek Reservoir
- Carrying a kangaroo
- Breakfast at the Silly Goat Café
- Star gazing at Whitecliffs
- Dancing with a drag queen
- Making donuts at the Community Market
- The Silverton Pub challenge
If you would like to find out more about an occupational therapy placement in the Allied Health in Outback Schools program, please contact your university lecturer or the BHUDRH program coordinator Ann Marie Hannan.