This week, Tori McQuat will be sharing her story about her time with the Dance Ability Movement and what she has done to improve service delivery at the Dance Ability Movement.

Hi everyone! My name is Tori McQuat and I am a second year Occupational Therapy student at the University of Toronto. Originally, I had put the Dance Ability Movement as number one on the top of my list to complete one of my fieldwork opportunities to develop my competencies and become an informed clinician. I was very lucky to be chosen for this opportunity to work with the Dance Ability Movement. Originally, my placement was supposed to look a little different than it does now. Before the pandemic, I connected with Mallory to get more information about the site and to better understand what would be expected of me. I was so excited to immerse myself into the world of dance and to have a hands-on experience with recital and helping out wherever I could!

When the pandemic started, my school was unsure how we were going to be able to move forward with fieldwork and complete the necessary hours required for me to graduate. I am very lucky that Mallory and Jade were up for the challenge of taking on four University of Toronto students and providing us with the ability to obtain our hours, while also guiding us and teaching us along the way. This fieldwork experience has looked a little different than my last ones, but regardless of the virtual delivery, it has been one of my most amazing placements yet! had an amazing time at the Dance Ability Movement and I have been very lucky to be able to connect with many individuals who are involved in the Dance Ability Movement team.

So, I know you’re all probably wondering… “how do you complete a virtual placement?” and to tell the truth I was sort of thinking the same thing when my school suggested the idea. Throughout my time at the Dance Ability Movement, I’ve mostly been working behind the scenes to help Mallory and Jade with some quality improvement projects that they had in mind. We meet as a group virtually once a week to discuss the progress on our projects, and any new ideas that we have to share. Additionally, we meet individually with Mallory or Jade once a week for feedback and guidance on our specific projects and discussion of how Mallory or Jade can support us in any way. For my project, I have been looking at how the Dance Ability Movement delivers their service, and how we can make improvements to ensure that the program is running as smoothly as possible!

One of the guiding philosophies of occupational therapy is practicing in a way that is supported by research evidence to ensure that what we are doing is the best for our clients and in this case our dancers! With that being said, I have been looking at how to implement a new evidence-based intervention approach that will be used by the occupational therapists at the Dance Ability Movement. This approach is called the Pathways and Resources for Engagement and Participation (PREP) which was created by a pediatric research group named CanChild in 2016.

When comparing the PREP handbook with the services that are already in place at the Dance Ability Movement, I noticed a lot of parallels in the way that the Dance Ability Movement delivers its service. One area that we will be implementing is to track dancer outcomes. Throughout my time at the Dance Ability Movement, I have heard the most inspiring stories from teachers, volunteers, and Jade and Mallory about how participating in dance has led to huge outcomes for their dancers. We have captured this change through the teachers and the occupational therapist’s documentation; however, through the use of the PREP approach, we can streamline the outcome process to ensure that we are objectively capturing this change.

Although the current state of the world is uncertain, one thing that is certain is that our fieldwork team is working very hard behind the scenes to make sure the next dance season is better than ever! Before we know it, we will be back in the studio dancing like never before!