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Occupational therapists give workshop at LOL Toys

Create: 06/14/2016 - 02:17

On June 1, LOL Toys on Ogilvie Ave. hosted an occupational therapy workshop presented by McGill University occupational therapy students under the supervision of Clara Carpintero from the school of physical and occupational therapy at McGill University.
Play time important
During the workshop, which was attended by Park Extension councillor Mary Deros, the students spoke about the importance of play time for children. OT students Christine Nguyen and Rachel Tavares were doing their first role-emerging field-work placement in collaboration with the LOL Toys store.
They presented their experiences and discussed their creation of a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats/Challenges) between the toy store, OT services and daycares. They also discussed how they planned and implemented an educational session for daycare educators in the Park Extension community. Finally, they presented their toy analysis.
According to Dr. Julie Drakoulakou, who co-owns LOL Toys and who obtained a degree in OT prior to becoming a dentist, the LOL team was very happy to provide the McGill OT students with a unique learning experience for the third consecutive year.
The usefulness of toys
“We hope that we can contribute in a small way to their education and professional development by allowing them to explore one of the multitudes of occupational therapy professional career options,” Drakoulakou told Nouvelles Parc Extension News. “More specifically, we welcome the students’ analysis of how toys and games can be useful in the clinical setting for assisting the rehabilitation and normal development of children.
“We strongly believe in the powerful effect that play and by extension games and toys have on the development and rehabilitation of all ages and medical conditions,” she added. “We hope that the students have also realized the same through their brief exposure to this environment. We are looking forward to hosting another team of students in the coming year.”
New rating system for toys
Drakoulakou said her long term goal is that one day all toys and games will have a rating system that will allow parents to choose toys based on the specific developmental and physical needs of their children, rather than their age and gender. “These students and the ongoing collaboration of OT are an integral part in one day making our dream a reality,” she said.
Deros, who as a teenager obtained some of her first employment experience working part-time at the Royal Victoria Hospital as well as at the Allan Memorial Institute, said it was there that she learned about the importance of treating people through OT. “It keeps them busy, keeps their mind occupied with creativity through art and music,” she said. “With sessions of OT, they were able to get over their situations much easier and faster.
Local councillor impressed
“It does make a difference,” she continued. “I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and to see that efforts are being made via this project with LOL Toys and McGill and the daycares I think is a wonderful initiative. Because, as Dr. Drakoulakou has mentioned, when you are observing children at a young age, when they are at play in day-to-day living conditions, the educators and caregivers are able to catch onto things if something is wrong, whereas doctors don’t always.”
Local daycare operator Mary Michaelidis, who runs Le Monde de l’Enfant at the corner of Ogilvy and Wiseman avenues, said she and her staff found the educational session useful and informative. “It really pertained to our clientele, given the fact that we do accept children with special needs and we presently have seven enrolled,” said Michaelidis. “It was important for us to be here to hear it from the professionals in OT as to how we can integrate this material into our program to help children develop.”

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Martin C. Barry