Participation in the International Conference on Occupational Therapy

On November 27-28, 2020 the Ukrainian Society of Occupational Therapists together with the Department of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy of the National University of Physical Education and Sport of Ukraine (Kyiv) and with the support of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) held the 2nd International Conference on Occupational Therapy “Opportunities of Occupational Therapy in Ukraine ” online. The occupational therapy community of Ukraine was looking forward to this event, because the conference program was announced in advance and promised to be interesting and useful.

For the second year in a row I had the opportunity to participate in international conferences on occupational therapy in Ukraine, organized by the Public Organization of Occupational Therapists in Ukraine. The program of this year’s conference was rich with the participation of speakers from 10 countries: Belgium, USA, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Georgia, Spain, Russia, the Czech Republic, and, of course, Ukraine.

No one was indifferent to the lectures of world-renowned professors of occupational therapy: motivational speech “Push to the heart of occupational therapy” by Professor Helen Polatayko (Canada) and a lecture by Professor Gail Whiteford (Canada) “Occupational therapy + occupational science = Better world” in which they make an emphasis on occupational orientation and client-centeredness in the practice of occupational therapist.

Thanks to Samantha Shann, Vice President of Finance at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), I have expanded my knowledge of social inclusion and the principles of occupational therapy in mental health practice. Olya Mangusheva (Chairman of the Ukrainian Society of Occupational Therapists) shared her experience of children with developmental disabilities hand orthosis.

Thanks to the speaker from the USA Jennifer Redloff, I discovered another direction in occupational therapy: Occupational Therapist – a specialist in driver rehabilitation and mobility in the community.

The lecture of the certified occupational therapist from Belgium Lorenzo Billet “Occupational therapy to ensure the mobility of visually impaired people” was useful. Lorenzo gave specific recommendations on how to develop sensory skills, compose a rehabilitation program and build a training program.

Mariyka Pakuin and Dr. Borys Legeta (Canada and the USA) presented books: a practical manual “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Rehabilitation Tools” and “Mental Health in War”, translated into Ukrainian by the American-Ukrainian Medical Foundation. After registering on the foundation’s website, I downloaded electronic versions of these books for free.

The speakers of the conference cited many clinical cases from their practice, which gives a better understanding of the features and nuances of the occupational therapist. Conference participants received answers to questions, discussed, shared experiences.

It is gratifying that the conference was attended by our master’s students majoring in “Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy” – Veronica Tokmakova and Vira Koval, who already work as occupational therapists in the rehabilitation center “Modrychi” (Truskavets). This is evidence that we at Drohobych University have managed to interest students in occupational therapy, that this profession is developing in Ukraine and has a future.

The President of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists Olga Mangusheva summed up the work of the conference, wished all its participants good health and ended her speech with the words: “Let’s keep calm: we are creating the history of Ukrainian occupational therapy together!”.

Nataliya Zakalyak