Mini SPOT Olomouc, a student association made up of occupational therapy students, has been launched at UP FHS, as part of an international organisation that supports future occupational therapists with their education and by mutual exchange of information. The association also aims to increase public awareness of the field.
“Many people do not even know that occupational therapy exists. And that it is not ‘something almost like physiotherapy’. Occupational therapy is quite unique, since it merges physiotherapy, psychology, and social work. It helps people with a functional deficit, with a disability, or after an accident to regain their self-sufficiency and not be dependent on help from others. The clients it works with are perceived as complex human beings, and it takes into account their lives, wishes, hobbies, and actively searches for a way to make them happen. An occupational therapist helps to increase the quality of one’s life, to make things easier, and can even design interior adjustments or help with choosing proper aids,” explains Barbora Hynštová, one of the founders of the association.
SPOT stands for Student Platform of Occupational Therapy. Olomouc’s Mini SPOT, headquartered at FHS UP, is the second in the Czech Republic and like the one in Prague is part of the international SPOT Europe organisation, which connects student associations of occupational therapy at European universities. It organises international professional seminars, arranges internships, educates through websites, and also helps individual Mini SPOTs with their own activities, such as technical support or promotion. Student associations from the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Greece are currently participating in the project.
The Faculty of Health Sciences opened a study programme in Occupational Therapy in 2019 and the association has connected students from both existing class years with their European colleagues. “Our goals are to share experience, knowledge, and news in our field based on inter-class cooperation, collegiality, and good relationships. We want to promote occupational therapy to the public and also to get new people to study it. And last but not least, we want to spread the good name of our university and thus create a better environment in order to co-develop a quality study programme,” said Hynštová.
“We have been able to gain almost one hundred followers on social media in a very short period of time. We have also prepared an online quiz competition for our students. And in the future, we want to prepare excursions, lectures, and public events where those interested can experience what is it like to have some kind of handicap that you have to live with,” adds the occupational therapy student.
The FHS Student Association is already in operation and has recently organised for example a university competition in donating blood – the competition results are here. UP FHS also has student representatives in the Asociace studentů fyzioterapie (Physiotherapy Students Association). An overview of student organisations operating at UP is available on this page.