In 2015, for the first time, HCI started sending Canadian OTs, PTs to India, along with Canadian OT, PT students. From 2015 to 2018, a total of 39 OTs and PTs, from Canada, USA and Australia, have volunteered at ASSA. They have provided mentorship and supervision to the Canadian OT, PT students and to the OTs, special educators and PTs at ASSA. In addition, they have provided direct client interventions and support. This has been done with keeping sustainability in mind – i.e. trying to educate staff at ASSA on their interventions, so that it can continue on, even after their departure.
With the various Canadian university affiliations, we have developed, we expect to have students from Jan – Dec in any given year. In 2019, we will be sending SLP students, alongside an SLP volunteer supervisor to ASSA. HCI is also recruiting SLP volunteers for 2020.
The role of the Canadian OT, PT, SLP will be to supervise OT, PT, SLP students and provide bedside mentorship and teaching to the PTs, OT, Speech trainers, special educators and interventionists working at ASSA, with the goal of improving the care and treatment they provide. They may also be asked to conduct or support students in conducting seminars / workshops for the PTs, OT, speech trainers and special educators. Direct client care will also take place and we hope to ensure a smooth transition of client care issues between incoming and outgoing Canadian OTs, PTs, Speech trainers so that service continuity is present.
Direct client care will be a greater focus when Canadian PTs, OTs, SLPs are at ASSA without Canadian students. That being said, a large focus is still on mentorship and teaching for both ASSA staff and Canadian students, so that the work done makes a sustainable difference over the long term. The area of focus can be tailored towards the Canadian therapist experience / interest.
The role of occupational therapy within the organization is emerging. ASSA physiotherapists and other rehabilitation workers value the role of occupation in rehabilitation and demonstrate an interest in integrating occupational therapy approaches into daily practice. The input of occupational therapists and OT students is highly sought regarding individual client issues, as well as regarding program level education and development.
As client care is always performed alongside a licensed rehabilitation or health professional in India, Canadian OTs, PTs and SLPs are not required to register with the licensing body in India.