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Fieldwork Experience: Special Needs Students

             My fieldwork practice environment was a special needs department at a high school in Dunedin. The department is made up with pupils who have learning disabilities and physical disabilities. My supervising occupational therapist mostly did shopping and cooking with the pupils and assessments at other primary and secondary schools in Dunedin. He worked alongside the head of the special needs department, two teachers, a physiotherapist and teacher-aides. At my placement I gained valuable experience in working with students with disabilities and I also learned how to use the moderate needs screening. The story I have written describes a Moderate Needs Screening for a student from a secondary school outside the setting of my placement. Consent was gained to conduct the moderate needs screening. I had never met the student prior to the assessment and had only read his application form for the assessment. Previously I had taken part in an earlier assessment where I played a minor part, there; I took on more of an observational role.
             The client, a student from a secondary school was referred to my Occupational Therapist while I was at my placement. The client suffered from brain injury from a bike accident which resulted in partial paralysis on his right hand side. Patients with this type of injury tend to have a reduced range of motion and find it difficult to work with their hands/arms/legs for long periods due to decreased strength of the injured side. This could affect a client's activities of daily living, productive activities and leisure activities. We traveled to the school that the student attended with my supervisor and the physiotherapist. On the way to the destination, we talked about the things that we were looking for in the moderate needs screening assessment. Moderate Needs Screening is a non-standardized assessment that my supervising occupational therapist and the physiotherapist from Kings High use, to interpret and collect data regarding the occupational status of the client.

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