Community Participant Labs

The Community Participant Labs are both a service to the community and a required student learning experience. Students in the occupational therapy and physical therapy programs provide services to members of the community under the direct supervision of licensed faculty.

    We offer the following Community Participant Lab opportunities:

    • Adult Physical Therapy: six weekly sessions running October through November or February through March
    • Pro Bono Physical Therapy: six weekly sessions running January through April (neurologic or balance) or May through August (orthopedic)
    • Adult Occupational Therapy: nine weekly sessions running February through April
    • Pediatric Occupational Therapy: nine weekly sessions running October through December

    See detailed information below to determine which experience fits your needs and schedule. Contact information is located at the bottom of the page, should you be interested or have additional questions.

    What is the Physical Therapy Community Participant Lab?

    • Educational experiences for our Doctor of Physical Therapy students, integrated into a patient/client management lab course
    • An opportunity for individuals with a diagnosed neurologic condition or a symptomatic orthopedic condition to contribute to our students’ education
    • A service for the East Bay community focused on providing mutual benefit for our students and the community members who participate. Community members may experience decreased symptoms, improved mobility and function, and fitness and wellness advice.

    About the Physical Therapy Community Participant Lab Program

    Our program consists of two to six visits, with the first visit being an examination followed by treatment sessions and concluding with a home program and recommended community resources.

    Visits are provided by SMU students under faculty supervision and include exercise, task practice/function training, support in making health behavior changes, and specialized services such as vestibular rehabilitation.

    Eligibility to participate in SMU’s Physical Therapy Community Participant Lab includes the following:

    • A documented neurologic condition (such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain injury)
    • An orthopedic condition that is symptomatic and/or results in dysfunctional movement.
    • Commitment to attending all scheduled sessions
    • Understanding that we accept participants on a first-come, first-served basis, in conjunction with the educational needs of our students    

    What is the Physical Therapy Pro Bono Lab?

    • Educational experiences for our Doctor of Physical Therapy students, integrated our curriculum as a series of courses
    • An opportunity for individuals with a diagnosed neurologic condition or a symptomatic orthopedic condition to contribute to our students’ education
    • A service for the East Bay community focused on providing mutual benefit for our students and the community members who participate. Community members may experience decreased symptoms, improved mobility and function, and fitness and wellness advice.

    About the Physical Therapy Pro Bono Labs 

    Our program consists of three to six visits, with the first visit being an examination followed by treatment sessions and concluding with a home program and recommended community resources.

    Visits are provided by SMU students under faculty supervision and may include exercise, hands on manual treatments, support in making health behavior changes, and individualized education.

    Eligibility to participate in SMU’s Physical Therapy Pro Bono Labs includes the following:

    • January through April:
      • A documented neurologic condition (such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain injury)
      • Balance problems or difficulty walking in the community
    • May through August:
      • An orthopedic condition (such as joint or muscle pain, sports injury) that is symptomatic and/or results in dysfunctional movement
    • Commitment to attending all scheduled sessions
    • Understanding that we accept participants on a first-come, first-served basis, in conjunction with the educational needs of our students    

    What is the Occupational Therapy Adult Community Participant Lab?

    • An opportunity for individuals with a diagnosed neurological condition to contribute to our students’ education. Some conditions that might bring a client in for services are a stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease, for example.
    • A student-led program, supervised by licensed occupational therapy faculty.
    • A service for the Bay Area community focused on promoting participation and engagement in personal occupations. Personal occupations include activities of daily living such as personal care and home tasks, as well as work and leisure activities. 

    About the Occupational Therapy Adult Community Participant Lab Program

    Our program consists of nine visits, with the first visit being an examination followed by treatment sessions and concluding with a home program and recommended adaptive devices, equipment, and strategies to improve function in daily tasks.

    Visits are designed to improve an important area of functioning in the participant's daily life, such as:

    • Self-care tasks (dressing, grooming, bathing, using the toilet)
    • Home tasks (cooking, dishes, cleaning, bills, etc.)
    • Work activities (transportation, use of the computer, endurance, mental focus)
    • Leisure tasks (going out to eat, socializing, playing sports, etc.).
    • Exercises to improve strength or mobility in order to complete daily tasks
    • Recommendation of adapted devices, equipment or strategies to improve function in daily tasks.

    Please note: If the main objective is to improve walking, please see the Community Participant Lab offered by the Physical Therapy program.

    Eligibility to participate in SMU’s Occupational Therapy Adult Community Participant Lab includes the following:

    • A desire for improvement in an area of daily function such as those described above
    • Commitment to attending all scheduled sessions
    • Understanding that we accept participants on a first-come, first-served basis, in conjunction with the educational needs of our students

    What is the Occupational Therapy Pediatric Community Participant Lab?

    • A free occupational therapy service for children ages 6 months through 16 years who have difficulty engaging in typical activities of childhood due to medical conditions, developmental challenges, or injury. 
    • Our OT student-run lab helps community children to develop skills to enhance their participation in self-care, play, and school activities. SMU students are supervised by SMU's OT faculty. 

    About the Pediatric Occupational Therapy Community Participant Lab

    Our program consists of nine visits, with the first visit being an examination and parent interview followed by treatment sessions and concluding with a home program. Visits are designed to improve an important area of functioning in the participant’s life, such as:

    • Self-care skills (teeth-brushing, dressing, utensil use for self-feeding)
    • Visual-motor and visual perceptual skills (eye-hand coordination, handwriting)
    • Fine motor (using hands to manipulate items)
    • Functional gross motor skills for play (using the whole body to move through space)  
    • Social skills (turn-taking, play skills)
    • Attention and self-regulation skills (learning to control energy level and emotions)*
    • Environmental modification for participation in daily life activities

    *Due to the student-run nature of our services, our CPL does not provide services to address behavior issues, complex sensory processing issues, or swallowing/feeding difficulties. These are considered areas of advanced practice and are best served by practitioners who have advanced level training in these areas. Children should have a need for skill development in one of the areas listed above to be a good fit for our CPL services.

    2019 Schedule:

    • The 2019 lab will take place on Mondays, beginning September 30, 2019, and ending on December 2, 2019
    • Children will be scheduled for a 50-minute therapy session.
    • Sessions will start at 2:30 or 3:30 pm. 
    • We accept clients on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Who's Eligible for Occupational Therapy Pediatric Lab Services?

    • Families that have a child who has developmental needs in one or more of the areas listed above
    • Families who can commit to attending all scheduled sessions
    • Families who understand that we accept participants on a first-come, first-served basis, in conjunction with the educational needs of our students
    • Families who apply and submit the Pediatric Community Participant Lab Form

     

    Forms must be sent by the parent or legal guardian of the child applying for services. These enrollment forms contain private health care information protected under HIPAA laws. Email is not considered a HIPAA-compliant way to submit protected health care information. We do allow families to submit forms via email for convenience but must inform you that email is not HIPAA compliant. You may email completed forms to OTLab@samuelmerritt.edu. Or submit them via fax to 510.457.4008 (Attn: OT Pediatric CPL), or by mail to:

    Pediatric Community Participant Lab
    Occupational Therapy Department
    Samuel Merritt University
    450 30th Street, 4th Floor
    Oakland, CA 94609

    Learning In Action

    Engagement with our community, hands-on learning for our students