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Childhood Development in an International Setting

Prerequisite: Training on use of WEB CT tool either through HP 600 or in 1/2 day training session on campus, date to be determined. No additional charge for 1/2 day training session. Graduate Level 3 credits - Tuition $1,185.00.

Students will travel with instructors to Bistrita, Romania. In Romania, course materials will occur within foster home, group home, and orphanage settings, working amongst health care workers for the NGO Romanian Children's Relief. For more information on Romanian Children's Relief, or RCR, please click here to visit their Web site.

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Fall 2007 Course Schedule

  • Application Deadline: August 15, 2007
  • On-line launch November 1st
  • In country approximately January 4-19, 2008

Expand clinical knowledge in the areas of:

  • early childhood development
  • psycho-emotional development
  • program development, including community needs assessments

Student Travel Information
Student costs for travel would include airfare, hotel, and food. Estimated costs flying from Philadelphia International Airport are: $900 airfare, $240 hotel (double room), $360 hotel (single room), on ground transport $60, and board (individual to student, range estimate from $100 to $200 based on student interest to dine with group or eat in local restaurants; opportunity for family style/apartment dining to reduce costs will be available on most evenings.) Prospective students should review the College Student Travel Agreement (click here)

Course Overview
This course is designed to offer therapists a unique experience to gain knowledge and skills in the area of service provision particular to post-institutionalized and foster care children. This course is offered as one of four elective courses that a student can take in the Pediatric Certificate Program. It is offered in a format involving online participation and intensive in-country travel to Romania. A portion of the course assignments are due during the in-country portion of the course offering while the final assignment is due after the completion of the in-country travel portion, at a time designated by the instructor. These assignments are based on clinical application of the information gained from the course.
Course Description

This course is offered with an online launch, a 10-14 day intensive in-country experience, and closes with online course activities.

By the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the impact of institutionalization and neglect upon developmental skills, sensory integrative skills, social and adaptive play skills, self care and feeding skills, academic/pre-academic skills, communication, and vocational skills.
  • Understand the role of developmental and sensory skills upon the attachment process.
  • Identify evaluation considerations of parent and child interactions that may positively or negatively impact attachment and bonding.
  • Identify strategies and activities for families to immediately use to promote skill development and attachment in the interim between evaluation and community intervention.
  • Identify cultural differences influencing child development.
  • Identify occupational performance differences between health care providers in Romania compared to those of health care providers in the United States.
  • Complete a program needs assessment and design a program, including budgeting, staffing, and equipment needs in a grant style format.
  • Understand the principles and value of service learning.

About the Instructors
Amy Lynch, MS, OTR/L, SCFES: Program Coordinator
Amy has been practicing with the pediatric population since receipt of her degree from the Boston School of Occupational Therapy at Tuft's University. She trained initially at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and went on to work at the Ayres Clinic. Amy specializes in post-institutionalization of internationally adopted children, autism and sensory integration problems, feeding/oral motor dysphagia, and cerebral palsy. She is certified in the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) and Infant Massage. She has completed her eight week training in Neurodevelopmental Treatment. Amy was the Manager of the OT Department at CHOP for five years, and now works clinically part-time at CHOP and is pursing a doctorate in Biomechanics and Movement Studies, with a concentration in Nutrition at the University of Delaware. Amy has traveled extensively to Romania, providing training at the county, institution, and foster famly levels. Amy is a member of the national AOTA panel designing specialty certifications for Dysphagia management. She has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally in feeding, sensory integration, international adoption medicine, and developmental care.
Joan Surfus, OTR/L, BCP, SWC
Joan received her degree in occupational therapy from Western Michigan University in 1990. Her focus of practice has been in pediatrics working with feeding and oral-motor/dysphagia, as well as sensory integration. Joan is certified to administer and interpret the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT). She has received her advanced practice by the California Board of Occupational Therapy in the area of Swallowing Assessment, Evaluation, and Intervention. She teaches regularly on this subject both nationally and internationally. Joan is currently part-time faculty at three universities teaching in the areas sensory integration, dysphagia, and pediatric intervention. Joan spends the majority of her time off volunteering abroad, working with children and staff at a school for special needs in Honduras as well as staff and post-institutionalized children in Romania. Recently Joan traveled to Russia as part of an occupational therapy delegation. She is currently an OT supervisor and oral motor specialist at Pediatric Therapy Network, in Torrance, California.
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