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Sharing Experiences with Therapy Assistant Students

Life is the best education and therapy assistant students at Okanagan College were treated to real life learning when CONNECT residents visited the classroom to share their experiences.

Carly Moore, a Life Redesign Coach at CONNECT Lake Country, developed this initiative so students would have a chance to get hands-on experience and hear first-hand accounts of what life is like with a brain injury.

"A few of the residents had been talking about wanting to give back to the community, be motivational speakers, etc.," says Carly. "It got me thinking about guest speakers from my program and how much I valued it as a student. I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for the residents to take their setbacks and actually use them as strengths to train the next generation of therapy assistants."

Darrell Skinner, a Therapy Assistant Instructor, thought the visit was very beneficial for the students and hopes to see it continue in the future.

"I am very pleased that Carly, a past graduate of this program, took the initiative to contact the program and really championed this visit from CONNECT," says Darrell. "There was a lot of practical value in this experience and I would hope to continue this next year with future classes."

During the visit students had the opportunity to hear CONNECT residents share their experiences, as well as work with them hands-on to practice what they've been learning in class.

"I hope that the students were able to better understand exactly how broad spectrum brain injury can affect a person's life," says Carly.

Darrell believes the hands-on approach helped the students gain a deeper understanding of what they've been studying in class.

"In the Physical Therapy Assistant lab, the students benefitted from being able to observe and participate in the exercise programs that the residents have been doing," says Darrell. "For example, the students were able to feel the effect of increased muscle tone when gently moving the client's limb and relate the theory they have been learning in class to real clients."

Carly hopes to see this initiative continue so that future classes can have the opportunity to learn from people at CONNECT.

"This is definitely something that both myself and the residents want to see more of in the future," she says.