Hyperchange Curriculum for Occupational Therapy Students

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In an Utopian OT world, there would be a weekly 3-hour course that spanned the duration of an occupational therapy student’s career in their master or doctorate OT program. It would primarily consist of guest speakers from other disciplines or expert OTs. Many would require real-world assignments. The curriculum would be extraordinarily interdisciplinary, cutting edge, relevant, and innovative, with a focus on what OT Jim Hinojosa addressed as “hyperchange” in his 2007 Slagle lecture. He discusses how OT student curriculums need to evolve so they better address “how” to learn, rather than “what”, with emphasis on flexible thinking, problem-solving, creativity, efficiency, and a much more interdisciplinary focus. Students would be equipped with cognitive tools to navigate the future, and learn how to access the information they need when in a constantly changing environment. He notes today’s students have spent their entire lives in a hyperchange environment, and are best suited to the challenges we face ahead in this area. Here are some of my (idealistic) class ideas.

  • Legalities and Liabilities of Innovative Practice (lawyer)
  •  Fundraising, Grant Writing, Finding Sponsors/Volunteers (expert)
  •  Entrepreneurialism, Marketing/Branding in Changing Healthcare world (marketer, designer)
  •  Keeping Occupations Intact in Face of Productivity/Budget Challenges (OT)
  •  Awareness of Eastern Medicine/Naturopaths/Alternative Healing (healer)
  • Interdisciplinary Relations: Collaboration and Creation (multi-disciplinary panels)
  • Healing Touch and Energetic/Touch Modalities (practitioner)
  • Inventions/Product Design, How To (experienced inventor)
  • Perspectives of client and therapists in mental Health OT (client, mental health OT)
  •  Perspectives of client and therapists in OT Emerging Practice Areas (panel of OTs and clients of differing areas)
  • Flexible-Thinking and Problem-Solving (cognitive psych? hmm)
  •  Perspectives of OT from Other Disciplines (panel)
  • Creative Use of Thrift Store/Dollar Store Materials
  • Creating Something out of Nothing: Ninja OT with limited access to materials
  • Psychology of Persuasion, Motivation, Hope (specialized psychologist)
  • Psychology of Trauma/Grief: Reflective Listening and Clinical Communication Skills (specialized psychologist)
  • Psychology of Illusions and Conmen: Skillfully using psychological techniques of distraction, expectation, and perspectives to approach challenging OT sessions (guest performance pickpocketer or similar – see bottom for details – not to be used in a manipulative way but rather helpful).
  • Lots more ideas!

I know my program (I graduated in 2009) addressed some of these, and I hope and imagine many current programs are addressing this via prerequisites or within the program itself. I’d love to hear what other OTs would like addressed, or what educators are already starting to address. I’m currently in a post-professional OTD program, so I’m thinking a lot about education!

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Bonus: I highly recommend you look at the youtube video and article on the following two real-life characters: Apollo Robbins is a famed (performance) pickpocket who uses the victim’s expectations and distraction against him:  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/01/07/a-pickpockets-tale for the article

This 6-minute video amazed me – he was able to pickpocket the victim even though the victim KNEW Apollo was about to try, and when you watch it assuming you will be able to tell, you can’t. Shocking.  

Frank Abagnale was a conman made famous by the movie Catch Me if you Can, although I prefer his autobiography.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch_Me_If_You_Can. He was able to successfully impersonate a pilot and doctor and other highly skilled professions, as well as start a new type of check forgery, by the time he was 19. He did a stint in jail, but ultimately ended up working for the FBI in their check fraud department, because he knew better than any non-criminal how to do it! He also used distractions, expectations, perspectives of other, and illusion, as his methods for success.


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