University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

http://rehab.washington.edu/research/articles/showref.asp?id=4708


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Title:

Instilling positive beliefs about disabilities: Experiential learning activity for rehabilitation students

Author(s):

Silverman, A. Pitonyak J, Nelson I, Matsuda P, Kartin, D, Molton, I

Year:

2017

Publication Info:

Disability and Rehabilitation, in press:

Abstract:

PURPOSE: To develop and test a novel impairment simulation activity to teach beginning rehabilitation students how people adapt to physical impairments.
METHODS: Masters of Occupational Therapy students (n?=?14) and Doctor of Physical Therapy students (n?=?18) completed the study during the first month of their program. Students were randomized to the experimental or control learning activity. Experimental students learned to perform simple tasks while simulating paraplegia and hemiplegia. Control students viewed videos of others completing tasks with these impairments. Before and after the learning activities, all students estimated average self-perceived health, life satisfaction, and depression ratings among people with paraplegia and hemiplegia.
RESULTS: Experimental students increased their estimates of self-perceived health, and decreased their estimates of depression rates, among people with paraplegia and hemiplegia after the learning activity. The control activity had no effect on these estimates.
CONCLUSIONS: Impairment simulation can be an effective way to teach rehabilitation students about the adaptations that people make to physical impairments. Positive impairment simulations should allow students to experience success in completing activities of daily living with impairments. Impairment simulation is complementary to other pedagogical methods, such as simulated clinical encounters using standardized patients.
IMPLICATION OF REHABILITATION:
- It is important for rehabilitation students to learn how people live well with disabilities.
- Impairment simulations can improve students' assessments of quality of life with disabilities.
- To be beneficial, impairment simulations must include guided exposure to effective methods for completing daily tasks with disabilities.

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