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JBSA News
NEWS | Aug. 14, 2014

Building rocking horse helps occupational therapy students

By Lisa Braun METC Public Affairs

When Jeffrey Bruce, a clinical coordinator for the occupational therapy assistant program at the Medical Education and Training Campus, was approached by a co-worker with a request to build a rocking horse for his daughter, Bruce told him no . . . but he did offer to show him how to make one.

Bruce and his co-worker each built a horse, utilizing the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph wood shop and Bruce's home shop for the majority of their project. Bruce was planning to give his to one of the civilian pediatric therapy clinics that his program sends its students to for phase II training.

"My first thought was pediatric therapy specialists, as they have been so helpful and willing to take our students," Bruce said. "We knew they were opening a new clinic in Schertz, so I thought this would be a fitting gift."

Before completing the rocking horse, Bruce brought it to the occupational therapy assistant program's workshop to afford students and staff the opportunity to work on it as well.

The occupational therapy assistant workshop allows students to learn therapeutic techniques patients can use to increase tolerance to specific activities, improve motor control, and increase strength and balance. Woodworking is an activity that can be used to treat occupational therapy patients.

"I brought the horse in for the students and staff to finish sanding on it during breaks, lunch, etc.," Bruce said. "People will pass through, grab a piece of sandpaper, sand for 5 or 10 minutes, then leave again.

"I teach woodworking to the students and I tell them, 'Woodworking can be relaxing.' This is a good example. Take a few minutes, clear your mind and dirty your hands. Then back to lesson plans, meetings, etc."

The rocking horse was presented to pediatric therapy specialists at the end of July.