Joy of creativity is never lost

“The final pieces of art are so beautiful and striking. It’s stunning. You would never know these pieces were made by someone experiencing memory loss and that’s the beauty of it all,” Dottie …

Source: Joy of creativity is never lost

“The final pieces of art are so beautiful and striking. It’s stunning. You would never know these pieces were made by someone experiencing memory loss and that’s the beauty of it all,” Dottie Santagata, administrator of Cornerstone Adult Services on Warwick Neck Avenue said recently.

Cornerstone Adult Services is on their second installation of Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program, a 10-week program that pairs memory loss patients one-on-one with occupational therapy students to work on abstract art pieces. Cornerstone is the only facilitator of the national program in the Northeast.

Santagata explained that even as one’s memory fades, the desire and drive to express ourselves and to be creative remains.

OMA offers participants “failure free” art activities with manageable steps and support from an occupational therapy student. Studies also find that when individuals with memory loss participate in artful self-expression it improves their physical and psychological well-being.

“We gear our programs to focus on the participants’ abilities not disabilities. We emphasize what they can still do, what brings meaning and engagement into their lives,” Santagata said.

Cornerstone began with two sessions in January partnering with New England Institute of Technology’s occupational therapy department. The sessions were so successful they continued with the program. The art created in these sessions is displayed throughout Cornerstone’s facility. Cornerstone is planning an art gallery sometime in June with competition of the second session. In many cases caregivers and family members can’t believe their loved ones created the art and often get emotional seeing them. The art is becoming so popular family members are asking to purchase prints of the work.

At the end of each session, Cornerstone participants get the opportunity to title and share their art with the rest of the program.

Santagata said, “Our participants are so energized and when they get to show off their work they are just beaming. It’s just amazing people who never thought they were creative leave considering themselves artists. They receive so much joy and validation from this program.”

In an artist quote provided by Santagata, one of the OMA artists said, “I never thought of myself as an artist before starting this. I like all the different materials we use in the art. I never know how it will come together in the end. It’s amazing how different everyone’s art turns out.”

Another said, “I wish I could have done more with art. I discovered that I really enjoy art, and I never had the chance to do art before. I find that all I am really interested in right now is art.”

Patients aren’t the only ones benefiting from OMA, the NEIT students get two days of working with patients with memory loss previous to the program and get real world experience throughout the 10-week program.

Doug Fallow, who participated in the program’s last session, said OMA was an “eye opening experience” for him. He was better able to understand how memory loss can affect someone’s entire life. He was able to take what he was learning in the classroom and “put it to work in the real world.”

“When you ask people what they like to do they may not remember or it may not translate to their current abilities,” Fallow said. “This is universal, everyone can participate and be creative. It’s important to build on these experiences.”

Both Fallow and Satagata said that students and participants form a strong bond over the 10 weeks they work together.

“It’s a win-win all around,” Satagata said. “Everyone has been so enthusiastic. This program has really surpassed all of our expectation on so many fronts. We see it in the expressions of our patients faces.”

ONE-ON-ONE PARTNERSHIPS: Cornerstone Adult Services participants are paired with an occupational therapy student from New England Institute of Technology once a week to work on step-by-step abstract art projects. (Warwick Beacon photos)

STRIKING: Administrator of Cornerstone, Dottie Santagata, said that the final art pieces are becoming so popular that families are asking for prints of the pieces. Cornerstone intends to open an art gallery with all the work later this summer.

BEAMING FACES: At the end of each session, all of the Cornerstone participants have the opportunity to share their piece of art. Santagata said the patients are beaming and take a lot of pride in their work.

Computer Donation Assists Individuals with Special Needs

10-AccessPoint RIAccessPoint RI located in Cranston supports children, adults and seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well co-occurring disabilities. Students in NEIT’s Physical Therapist Assistant Technology program, as well as the Occupational Therapy Assistant Technology program have participated in internships at AccessPoint RI. To further assist this organization with its good work, New England Tech donated 11 surplus computers to be used by AccessPoint RI clients and staff.

Rory Carmody, MA, CRC, Director of Program Development at AccessPoint RI, stated, “Our goal is to make computers available to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who never used a computer before or have limited access to one. We placed these computers in some of our group homes and also set up a small computer lab at our Cranston facility. We are helping people use the internet to connect with friends, conduct job searches, and complete online employment applications. We also made two computers available to our staff for training purposes. AccessPoint RI clients and staff are extremely grateful to New England Tech for its support and generosity.”

A Salute to a NEIT Occupational Therapy Grad

n.petrucci picNatalie Petrucci, MS, OTR/L, is a three-time graduate of New England Tech! Her degrees include an  Associate in Science degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. Currently, she is employed at Fatima Hospital and works in its two inpatient psychiatric units. Natalie also serves as the student coordinator for Occupational Therapy (OT) students who require placement in a mental health setting.

Natalie first began her career at Fatima Hospital in May 2013 as a part time occupational therapist on the locked psychiatric intensive treatment unit (ITU).  Her role has grown considerably since then now serving as the main occupational therapist for the two adult in-patient psychiatric units. Natalie has integrated occupational therapy back into Fatima Hospital’s partial hospital program facilitating three groups on a weekly basis teaching coping skills, evaluating patients, and providing one-on-one therapy. She also serves on the behavioral emergency response team.

Natalie is the student fieldwork coordinator for psychiatric placements and coordinates schedules with NEIT, CCRI, Worcester State and Quinnipiac University to maintain a steady flow of students each year.  She passes her extensive knowledge and skills on to her students. Natalie said, “Students bring with them new ideas and new ways of learning. They are excited to work in this environment, which means they bring a lot of positive energy with them.”

NEIT Alumni named Employee of the Year!

Congratulations, Keri!  Hard work and dedication always pay’s off.

Keri Kinneberg Employee of the Year

Keri Kinniburgh

Keri Kinniburgh of Southern New England Rehabilitation Center was named the 2015 employee of the year for her dedication to her patients in her care at SNERC.  Keri graduated in 2004 from our Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program and is a practicing as an occupational therapy assistant in RI.  We’d also like to thank Keri for her continued support of New England Institute of Technology by being a member of the OTA Technical Advisory Board.

Congratulations Karen Morgenstein!

Karen MorgensteinAnyone who has worked with Karen Morgenstein, lab assistant in the Occupational Therapy (OT) department, knows of her passion for the OT field.  As a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) for 37 years, Karen always speaks very highly of her profession and her experiences.  Karen is an amazing role model for New England Tech students.  She demonstrates the importance of her role as a COTA, recently being elected as President of the Rhode Island Occupational Therapy Association (RIOTA).  NEIT students hope to be an avid and dynamic leader and practitioner as Karen Morgenstein.  Congratulations to Karen for being selected President of the RIOTA for a second term.

Career Services hosting Health Sciences Fair

The Career Services Office will be hosting the annual Health Sciences Fair on Thursday, October 29, 2015. The fair will be held on the 3rd floor in Tech Way from 9:30 am to 12 pm.

This is a great opportunity to network with potential employers! Students from all quarters and alumni from the following technologies are encouraged to attend:

Clinical Medical Assistant, Electronic Medical Records, Medical Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology

Attending Companies:

AAPRI Clinical Research

Adelbrook Behavioral & Developmental Services

BAYADA Home Health Care

Care New England – Memorial Hospital of RI

CBS Therapy

CharterCare Health Partners

Cherry Hill Manor

Coastal Medical

Community Care Alliance

Elite Physical Therapy

Groden Network

Hallworth House Rehabilitation

Home Instead Home Care

Lifespan

Newton Wellesley Hospital

Seven Hills Rhode Island

Southcoast Health

Therapy Resources Management

University Medicine

Women & Infants Hospital

New Health Sciences Tutors at NEIT

In addition to the walk-in Math/Science tutoring services available in New England Tech’s Academic Skills Center (ASC), several additional tutors now stand ready to assist students in the Nursing, Respiratory Care and Science/Occupational Therapy programs. These services are offered by appointment and/or walk-in with the following experienced tutors.

Jessica McMahon

Jessica McMahon

Jessica McMahon, Nursing. Jessica graduated from NEIT’s Nursing Program in 2014 and is currently a full-time Registered Nurse on the Oncology Unit at Roger Williams Medical Center. Jessica received the “Best of Tech” award for the Nursing Program in 2014, is a member of the Alpha Theta Kappa Honor Society, and will receive her Bachelor’s degree in July, 2015.

Mary Bohannon

Mary Bohannon

Mary Bohannon, Nursing. Mary graduated from NEIT’s Nursing Program in 2014 and is currently a Registered Nurse at Riverview Healthcare. Mary is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science from Keene College in 2009. 

Peter Butler

Peter Butler

Peter Butler, Science/Occupational Therapy. Peter graduated from NEIT’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program in 2013 and is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program, where he is a member in good standing of the Alpha Chi Honor Society. Peter will graduate from the MSOT program at NEIT in May, 2016.

Tyler Teixeira

Tyler Teixeira

Tyler Teixeira, Respiratory Care. Tyler graduated from NEIT’s Respiratory Care Program in September, 2014, and is currently working as a registered Respiratory Therapist at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, CT. Tyler received the “Best of Tech” award for the Respiratory Care Program, and graduated “With Honors” at the NEIT commencement ceremony in May.

For additional information regarding the valuable services available through the ASC, please call the ASC Front Desk at ext. 3416 or contact Jennifer Gaffney, adjunct faculty member in the Math/Science Department and Assistant Coordinator of the ASC Math/Science Labs, at jgaffney@neit.edu.

 

Employers LOVE NEIT Graduates

We don’t want to brag BUT I think we will.

Employers love New England Tech graduates! Don’t listen to me, hear what they have to say.

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s, online and Master’s degree programs.

More Information | Apply Now

Contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu 

OT Grad Achieves It All

3-Happy Grad AlisonAlison Tevyaw is a 2014 graduate of New England Tech’s Master of Science Degree program in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) as well as a 2011 graduate of NEIT’s Associate in Science Degree program in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Technology. Alison is a remarkable young woman who has also mastered the art of parenting an 18-month old toddler and newborn twins while traveling from El Paso, Texas, to NEIT to complete her MSOT degree this past summer.

When Alison began the MSOT program in October, 2012, she was working full-time as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) in Rhode Island. Her husband was about to deploy for the second time to Afghanistan, and they were expecting their first child. Their daughter was born in March, 2013. Alison stopped working in September, anticipating her husband’s return from Afghanistan and their move to his new post in El Paso, Texas.

The question now became whether Alison should complete her MSOT program with these changes in her life. After much thought, she decided to stay in the program even though she would now be living thousands of miles away because she had already completed half of the curriculum. Then, three months after the move, Alison learned they were now expecting twins! Ironically the expected delivery date of the twins coincided with the last quarter of classes.  Alison stated, “Time management, finding balance between family life and school, and a great support system is what helped me to succeed, not to mention, my passion for learning and to grow within my career. I love being an Occupational Therapist because it gives me the ability to actually make a difference and to affect change and to me, that is powerful.” 

What made you decide to attend NEIT?

The decision to attend New England Tech to obtain my MSOT stemmed from having graduated from NEIT’s OTA program. I felt that the supportive staff in the OT Department, the hybrid class schedule of the MSOT program, and because I was living in Rhode Island when I began the program, would make it a good fit for me. 

How did you choose your program?

As a graduate of New England Tech’s OTA program, I was faced with the decision of where to attend a graduate program.  Initially, I chose the OTA program because I had a friend in the program who educated me about OT as a career. I originally dreamed of going to pharmacy school and had worked as a pharmacy tech for 5+ years, but the prospect of attending college full-time for six years plus working full-time didn’t seem logical to me. The healthcare field is ultimately where I wanted to be, and I knew from my previous experience working with children and the elderly that I would enjoy working as an Occupational Therapist. 

What did you do to get started with your career?

Initially, after graduating from the OTA program in 2011, I had worked with Career Services a great deal perfecting my resume and writing cover letters.  I had submitted a number of resumes for available positions, and then one day I received a phone call from a local agency which I had never even applied to. I learned that the agency reached out to NEIT and requested resumes from recent graduates to fill an open position and mine happened to be one of them. 

Tell us about your position.

Before we relocated to Texas, I worked as a pediatric COTA in a private school that provides children, suffering with severe and profound disabilities, medical rehabilitation and individualized comprehensive educational programs.  I worked with students from 9-15 years of age who had been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injury, and a variety of genetic and behavioral disorders. 

What do you feel ultimately prepared you for your position?

I really think the lab time within the Occupational Therapy program is so beneficial. The lectures are also important, but working in the labs is where students can put it all together and actually apply the knowledge gained.  Additionally, the benefit of having fieldwork built into the curriculum is immeasurable. Not only do students get a wealth of hands-on experience, they are exposed to a variety of cases, clinicians, and complimentary therapies. 

Do you have any advice for graduates who are just beginning their job search?

Beginning the job search can seem a bit overwhelming. My advice would be to take the first job you find interesting even if it’s not in the specialty you may want because there will always be other opportunities down the line.  I had peers who were absolutely sure about their area of specialty, such as pediatrics, but took a position in physical rehab or mental health instead and now wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else.  Proficiency in any specialty will always be helpful because the same set of basic skills is needed to be competent and to build client trust.  Supervision and mentorship is key since it’s where students learn the most.  Networking with other therapists is important.  Attend RIOTA meetings, and never be afraid to link back up with your NEIT peers and instructors. Students can never have too many personal and professional resources. 

What can current students do to better prepare themselves for jobs in this field?

Finding balance is important for health and success. A therapist should possess patience and determination.  While completing coursework, don’t be afraid to ask for further explanation or examples from faculty, and be sure to chat with peers to discuss each other’s viewpoints. As a new therapist, there are many different perspectives on a variety of issues, and many times there is no right or wrong answer. Clinical reasoning is where everything stems, and building this skill is imperative to leading a successful career.  Seeing the look on the faces of my clients when they can successfully participate in an activity that is meaningful to them is priceless.

For more information on New England Tech’s over 40 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and online degree programs, including Master of Science Degree program in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) as well as Associate in Science Degree program in Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) Technology, call 800-736-7744, 401-467-7744, or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

Sensation Station to fill gap by closure of Meeting Street outpatient facility – Warwick Beacon

Carol Doehler, professor and chair of Occupational Therapy at New England Institute of Technology, sits on a swing with Audrey Pavlak in the sensory gym at Sensation Station. Doehler partnered with Randy Fedoruk to bring Sensation Station to Warwick

Great story in the Warwick Beacon about the Newly opened Sensation Station in Warwick, RI, where graduate students will be able to intern.

From the Warwick Beacon:

Sensation Station, a private, family-centered therapy facility specializing in the care of children dealing with learning, social and physical challenges, was welcomed to Warwick by Mayor Scott Avedisian and Congressman Jim Langevin with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

The facility, located at 535 Centerville Rd., opened on Oct. 14 and will provide specialized individual intervention by occupational therapy, speech pathology and physical therapy professionals for children from birth to 21 years of age. Most of these services are reimbursed through health care insurance. Other one-on-one services include advocacy support with school IEP [Individualized Education Program] development, parent and sibling support, and home environmental assessments.

Owner Randy Fedoruk, a pediatric occupational therapist and associate professor at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) first established Sensation Station in 2010 in Guilford, Conn. Working together with Carol Doehler, professor and chair of Occupational Therapy at NEIT, Fedoruk brought Sensation Station to Warwick and Rhode Island to help fill the gap left by the closure of the outpatient department at Meeting Street, the main resource for kids with special needs in Rhode Island.

“We were told it was due to finances,” Doehler said of the Meeting Street department closure. “The reimbursement structure makes it challenging to do an outpatient program, so we had to be innovative.”

Doehler said Sensation Station is not driven by a traditional medical model, but rather by a family-centered model.

“The child and family come first,” she said. “Working together with Randy, we had the common belief that when you’re working with kids with special needs, it’s a family affair; it affects everybody.”

Fedoruk said a Parents Advisory Committee was established to assist staff by telling them what needs to focus on and determining which services to run because they are familiar with the day-to-day issues that may arise at home, school or in the community.

According to a press release, “The Parents Advisory Committee meets closely with staff to help meet those unique needs of the entire family and better incorporate the lessons learned at Sensation Station into all meaningful interactions.”

When the outpatient department closed this summer, it left more than 200 families “without high quality resources and few places to turn.”

Doehler said she and Fedoruk loved the therapists at Meeting Street, and since they were out of a job with the department closure, they were hired and brought to Sensation Station.

“We’re happy to do this in Warwick,” Fedoruk said. “We’re here to help kids make connections, learn motor skills and address developmental needs; to meet the needs of social skills and develop physical skills.”

Fedoruk said the facility features a kitchen to help develop living skills, such as cooking and cleaning, a private therapy quiet room, and a gym containing everything from swings and trampolines to a climbing wall.

“We’re still having things shipped in,” he said.

Langevin said the program is an exciting addition to the community and will fill a vital need.

“When Meeting Street closed its outpatient department, it left a void for families and kids; you’re filling that void,” he said, before presenting a citation to the facility. “I’m the proud uncle of a boy with autism, so I understand the benefit to the community. I love the concept of integrative therapy and play. It will be therapeutic and a lot of fun.”

Avedisian said Sensation Station is about appropriate interventions at appropriate times.

“We know what families need and we have the ability to provide that, it’s just a question of getting it all together,” he said. “You’re filling a huge, unmet human need in the community. There will be lots of little voices, activity and noise to show how interventions pay off dividends.”

Fedoruk said Sensation Station is not just about children with delays and learning disabilities, but welcomes all children, who are eligible to join the Kid’s Club.

“The Kid’s Club is facilitated by professional outpatient therapists and is open to all children,” Doehler said. “We hope to service 150 to 200 kids through the Kid’s Club and do it through play.”

Doehler explained that no more than six kids would meet at a time to use the gym space for an hour.

“They can schedule what works for them,” she said.

Doehler said the Kid’s Club does not require insurance or a medical referral, but rather utilizes a monthly membership fee, similar to a health club.

“Parents told us that was a huge deal,” she said.

Doehler said NEIT features both an associate degree and graduate masters degree in occupational therapy. She said graduate students will have the opportunity to intern at the Sensation Station facility.

via Sensation Station to fill gap by closure of Meeting Street outpatient facility – Warwick Beacon.