Students ready to work with disabled kids in summer

Putting together summer camp activities for physically or mentally disabled children is a class assignment for one group of OCCC students this semester.

Come summer, the occupational therapy assistant students will transfer their ideas into action.

“First year students in the OTA program who are taking the Group Dynamics class have been vigorously preparing,” said Professor Reeca Young, director of the OTA program.

The program takes two years to complete.

Once graduates have passed their licensure exam, they are ready to work in the field, Young said.

An occupational therapist assistant works with people who are disabled, teaching them to perform everyday tasks such as writing or eating.

Students taking the Group Dynamics class have been planning the activities they will do with the children at Camp ClapHans.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with kids with special needs at the camp and are sure it will be very rewarding,” said OTA student Todd Droscher.

Camp ClapHans is held at the J.D. McCarty Center in Norman. On the grounds, there are two cabins where the children, ages 8 to 16, will stay.

The camp is designed to help disabled children make new friends and learn new skills while having fun, according to the J.D. McCarty Center’s website.

“The camp’s name was honored after Sammy Jack Claphan, who was a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an Oklahoma native,” according to the website.

The children with disabilities will be going to the camp on a Sunday afternoon and staying through Wednesday afternoon.

The OCCC students will attend the camp one afternoon and one evening to work with the children.

The J.D. McCarty Center is a place where children with disabilities, either physical or mental, are taught to do everyday activities like playing or eating.

“The OTA students have been conducting activities that will promote movement, sensory experience, and fun so every child can participate,” Young said.

“Each group of six or seven students is coming up with ideas,” Droscher said.

“We will then submit plans and devise back-up plans with alternatives B and C, and determine costs.

“Our group will present them to the rest of the class along with other groups. Votes will be taken for the best plans.

“Once the activities are chosen, we will bring it to the Camp Claphans organization for approval,” Droscher said.

“Once approved we find sponsors to help cover the costs associated with the activities.”

The director of Camp ClapHans, Kyle Cottrell, graduated from OCCC’s OTA program, Young said .

This is the second year of Camp ClapHans and the first year the OTA students are going to the camp, Young said. This year’s theme is Wild Wild West.

“The students have been planning craft sessions, games, activities, and even snacks related to the Wild Wild West theme,” Young said.

The Student Occupational Therapy Association has not only been raising money for their trip to the camp, but also has also been raising money to sponsor the registration of a child so the child can attend the camp.

The fee to attend the camp is $325 which can be a lot for some families, according to the J.D. McCarty Center’s website.

For more information about the OTA program, contact Young at 405-682-7506 or at

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