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Empowerment By Design

Empowerment By Design
A Stony Brook University & Rebuilding Together® Collaboration


Empowerment by Design is an interdisciplinary endeavor designed to integrate didactic classroom education with real life experience. Students from the Occupational Therapy (OT) Program will use their newly acquired skills to plan and implement environments (homes) for people with disabilities. Under the supervision of OT faculty, the occupational therapy students (OTS) will perform client physical and environmental evaluations to determine the client's current or prospective level of function and select environmental modifications essential to maximize a client's independence in activities of daily living (ADL) and safety. After the initial OT visit, OTS will conduct field research to identify existing environmental conditions and demands. OTS will then make the appropriate recommendations to Rebuilding Together® (RT) members. The OTS will work with clients to design a cost-effective and aesthetically pleasing home modification. The design will incorporate theoretical principles of adaptation while promoting client health, wellness, and independence.

OTS will research materials and cost of the project. The student will be required to investigate charitable resources and solicit organizations to provide the (in-kind) supplies and materials needed to complete the project. We have recently secured a site to host a car wash fundraiser. The execution of the designs and home modifications will be done in collaboration with (RT), a non-profit community organization serving Long Island communities. Client eligibility for the project will be the sole discretion of RT and determined by the standards, policies, and procedures that govern RT.

Pedagogical Significance

It is hypothesized that occupational therapy can have a lasting effect on a client's health and wellness. Restoration of one's living environment will inevitably lead to restoration of their living situation. Furthermore, it is expected that the occupational intervention will lead to increased safety, improved mobility, and independence in the home environment. Clients will be able to engage in activities they could not perform independently prior to intervention by our Stony Brook students, such as bathing, simple meal preparation, going on outings, and gardening. Clients will be evaluated utilizing standardized evaluation tools to determine the level of independence, incidence of falls within the home, incidence of illness prior to intervention, and participation in leisure activities.

Supervising Faculty:

  • Alexander Lopez, JD, OTR/L

Class of 2008 participating students:

  • Kyle Bannan
  • Elaina Bylicki
  • Kristin Castle
  • Patricial Ciccone
  • Christina Esposito
  • Karen Grefe
  • Lauren Hanly
  • Erica Heidt
  • Sandra Ho
  • Vivian Huang
  • Efekona Nuwere
  • Nancy Pascarella
  • Kathy Pun
  • Elizabeth Salamon
  • Wendy Tse
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design
Empowerment By Design