OT Students Assist SEPTA Travelers with Cognitive Disabilities

Written by Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis
Published on March 24, 2015

students at septaAspiring occupational therapists at University of the Sciences have spent the past three months helping local high school students with intellectual disabilities learn important life skills, such as navigating the Southeastern PennsylvaniaTransportation Authority’s (SEPTA) buses, trains and trolleys. The overall goal was to make sure that the high school students felt comfortable and safe within their community so that they can go on to live as independently as possible.

“Like anyone learning something new for the first time, students with autism and other cognitive disabilities need repetition in order to understand how to use the public transit system,” said Julianne Soby DrOT’16. “They perform best when things are taught to them over and over.”

Soby and one of her classmates spent 12 weeks traveling with students from Parkway West High School to demonstrate passenger skills like using the ticket machines and interpreting the different transit routes. They were also able to help address any questions or concerns that the high school students had regarding the transportation system.

“One of the high school students we worked with recently got a job, and he will be using public transit to get to and from work,” said Soby. “That is exactly why we worked with these students—to help prepare them for their future and feel confident in their actions.”

The Department of Occupational Therapy at USciences offers a program of learning that combines informative, classroom knowledge with exciting, “real world” clinical experiences, said Wendy Fox MOT’00, OTR/L, assistant professor of occupational therapy.

“The fieldwork experience is part of our required curriculum at USciences, but faculty has worked hard to offer both traditional and non-traditional internships for all students enrolled in our professional program,” said Fox, noting that these experiences enhance clinical reasoning, build clinical skills, and open up possibilities for occupational therapist work in various settings. 

With an array of partners like SEPTA, YMCA, cancer support groups, women’s emergency shelters, therapeutic horseback riding programs, and private practices, students at USciences are exposed to the diverse career opportunities within the field of occupational therapy.

Media coverage:

Nbc10March 20, 2015
Assisting SEPTA Travelers with Disabilities

SEPTA, along with graduate students from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, are teaming up to help those with disabilities travel.


Categories: News, Feature Story, Students, Faculty, Community, Samson College, Department of Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Graduate Homepage

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