Settling in: A new graduate OT’s
experience working with asylum
seekers and refugees.
Tara Watts
Bachelor of Occupational ...
What will be covered?

Understanding transitions
From student to new graduate
My clients – who do I work with?
The potenti...
My understanding of “transitions”

Transitions are all about change
Self
Location
Situation
This process includes
Discover...
From student to new graduate OT

First year university (2009)

Graduation day (2013)
Advice for new graduates
(and other OTs)
Be open to new ideas
Be prepared to learn something new every day
Stay true to yo...
My clients – working with
asylum seekers

Approx. 300 asylum seeker
clients within Diversitat
Community detention
Bridging...
Who is an asylum seeker?

Amnesty – Rethink
Refugees Campaign
The potential for OTs

Social Connections
– encourages a sense of belonging, engagement
and connection to the community fo...
The potential for OTs

Cultural Kitchen
- a community kitchen designed to promote
social interaction and the cooking of af...
The potential for OTs
What do all these programs have in common?
Meaningful occupation
Social participation
Practical supp...
Join me!
Join the international OOFRAS
community!
www.oofras.com

Become a part of the movement –
consider working with as...
A final reflection
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of
good put together that overwhelm t...
Some interesting reading

Burchett, N. & Matheson, R. (2010). ‘The need for belonging: The
impact of restrictions on worki...
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A new graduate OT's experience working with asylum seekers and refugees (OT24Vx 2013)

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What are transitions? Well, we know everyone experiences transitions at different stages of their lives. Whether it’s from student to professional, or even moving from one country to another, transitions form an interesting journey of change, adjustment and settlement.

From the transition from university student to new graduate, from volunteer to practitioner, Tara Watts will discuss transitions from personal and professional experiences. The transition from activism as a citizen to challenging occupational injustices as a professional will also be touched on, along with extensive discussion on her area of work at Diversitat that is embedded in the transitions of asylum seekers and refugees in the Geelong community.

For Tara's OT blog head to http://embracingot.blogspot.com.au/
For recordings and more info on OTVx head to http://www.ot4ot.com/ot24vx-13recordings/

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  • Change...
  • Still learning but more independence >> I feel I now have a chance to prove what I can do. Which is both incredibly daunting and exciting! I also found that in this transition my role of advocacy has changed too. So while at uni I would be campaigning on the streets for refugee rights, and although I still do that now (seriously you should have heard how loud I was last weekend)...my role of advocacy has also transitioned as I have moved into the new grad world. I now approach advocacy for my clients in a more professional sense – always through education, constant conversations and engagement with people in the community but it’s different now. When I’m advocating at work for my clients or with OOFRAS (Occ.....) I make sure to put my OT hat on...this then frames what I’m saying with an occupational perspective. For example, in campaigns when at uni I would be focussing on injustice and the right to human rights...when I have my OT hat on, I am still arguing the same points but I will be discussing the occupational deprivation that asylum seekers and refugees face...I am also facing the challenges of working in a non-traditional area of OT – with asylum seekers. I can fully see the relevance for OTs in this field however I am constantly faced with “oh, I thought you were an OT” or “why would you be working here then”. These words come from colleagues, and uni friends. So here’s my advice for all new OTs (and anyone working in a new area of OT)...
  • It all has to do with visa status...their journey here and experiences are very similar.
  • Doing...being...belonging...isn’t this what OT is all about. Isn’t this a crucial part of the transition process too.
  • Doing...being...belonging...isn’t this what OT is all about. Isn’t this a crucial part of the transition process too.Community engagement – crying >>> thinking about where they’ve come from, where they will end up >>> the direction of their transition is undetermined and that is incredibly overwhelming and causes insecurity and stress for our clients >>> volunteering gives them the chance to prevent occupational boredom, contribute something positive to the community and ...
  • All supporting the transition process of the client...
  • Dissent – “The harm to health, human rights, and humane society caused by occupational deprivation of asylum seekers for ‘deterrence’ is unacceptable.” Add to research...get talking...every action adds up and we can show the world that this is an important area for OTs to be practicing!
  • And hopefully, something written by myself in the future...
  • A new graduate OT's experience working with asylum seekers and refugees (OT24Vx 2013)

    1. 1. Settling in: A new graduate OT’s experience working with asylum seekers and refugees. Tara Watts Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) Saturday 26 October 2013 OT4OT Virtual Exchange Conference
    2. 2. What will be covered? Understanding transitions From student to new graduate My clients – who do I work with? The potential for OTs
    3. 3. My understanding of “transitions” Transitions are all about change Self Location Situation This process includes Discovery Reflections Challenges Settling in
    4. 4. From student to new graduate OT First year university (2009) Graduation day (2013)
    5. 5. Advice for new graduates (and other OTs) Be open to new ideas Be prepared to learn something new every day Stay true to your values and keep using an occupational lens Find a mentor Find different ways to switch off from work Constant reflection and discussions
    6. 6. My clients – working with asylum seekers Approx. 300 asylum seeker clients within Diversitat Community detention Bridging Visa E Asylum seeker vs. refugee
    7. 7. Who is an asylum seeker? Amnesty – Rethink Refugees Campaign
    8. 8. The potential for OTs Social Connections – encourages a sense of belonging, engagement and connection to the community for asylum seekers who are at risk of social isolation. New Arrival Support – provides more practical support for refugees through physical demonstration and visual cues.
    9. 9. The potential for OTs Cultural Kitchen - a community kitchen designed to promote social interaction and the cooking of affordable, nutritious meals Community Engagement - engaging asylum seekers in meaningful occupation through volunteering in the community
    10. 10. The potential for OTs What do all these programs have in common? Meaningful occupation Social participation Practical support Doing...being...belonging... Isn’t this what occupational therapy is all about??
    11. 11. Join me! Join the international OOFRAS community! www.oofras.com Become a part of the movement – consider working with asylum seekers or refugees in your community Join the Politics4OT Facebook group For Australian OTs, you can register your dissent at: www.oofras.com/Detentionpg22373
    12. 12. A final reflection “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
    13. 13. Some interesting reading Burchett, N. & Matheson, R. (2010). ‘The need for belonging: The impact of restrictions on working on the well-being of an asylum seeker.’ Journal of Occupational Science, 17(2). Gupta, J. (2012). ‘Human displacement, occupational disruptions, and reintegration: a case study.’ WFOT Bulletin, 66. Suleman, A. & Whiteford, G. (2013). ‘Understanding Occupational Transitions in Forced Migration: The Importance of Life Skills in Early Refugee Resettlement’. Journal of Occupational Science Smith, H. (2005). ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway: Meeting the occupational needs of refugees and people seeking asylum.’ British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(10).

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