Abilene children practiced handwriting and improved their fine motor skills, all in a fun camp environment, while Abilene Christian University occupational therapy students had a chance to practice what they’re learning about pediatric therapy.
ACU’s first-ever “Wildcat Writers” handwriting camp, organized by the Department of Occupational Therapy, served 24 local children over two weeks in June.
“I hope that our campers got a good understanding that handwriting can be fun and there are a lot of activities you can do in daily life to develop handwriting, other than just sitting at a table and writing,” said Amy Gibbs, assistant professor of occupational therapy. “We want to make handwriting fun and enjoyable.”
The camp was also an opportunity for ACU’s occupational therapy students to get one-on-one interaction with children in a therapy-like setting before they enter the field. The camp served as a field placement for the 24 ACU students who received 30 hours of instruction and prepared all the lessons and activities for the campers.
“This provides our students with opportunities to be with kids, learn how to interact with them and encourage them, and create different activities based on level of function,” Gibbs said.
Each camper was paired with an occupational therapy student for a one-to-one instructor to student ratio, so students can get to know each camper and can tailor the activities to their individual needs.
Perhaps most importantly, the camp is offered free of charge.
“We had the ability within our budget to offer it as a free camp so we could serve kids regardless of their family’s ability to pay,” Gibbs said. “That’s another thing we hope it models for our students: the value of service and how what we do is part of ACU’s mission.”