The PHHP department of occupational therapy held the inaugural Sandra Edwards Colloquium on Feb. 18 on the UF campus. The free continuing education event brought together more than 100 clinicians, alumni, community members and students to discuss best evidence and practice in occupational therapy.
Elizabeth Skidmore, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, the chair of occupational therapy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, gave the keynote presentation, “Disability Attributed to Cognitive Impairments: Fixed or Flexible?” UF OT faculty members led sessions on a range of topics, including driving rehabilitation, managing behavioral symptoms in veterans with dementia, supporting college students with learning disabilities, and developing life care plans for individuals with disabilities.
The event was made possible by a generous gift from Al Garcia in recognition of his wife, Sandra Edwards, M.A., OTR, FAOTA, a 1965 graduate of the UF OT program, and her many contributions to the occupational therapy profession.
“Our vision for the gift is that the colloquium speakers will help bring to the University of Florida the kind of diversity of ideas that can only add strength to any educational endeavor,” Garcia said.
A professor emerita of occupational therapy at Western Michigan University, Edwards has published and presented extensively on hands, Down Syndrome and interdisciplinary activities. She is one of the few experts in occupational therapy on the development of children with Down Syndrome and on their hand architecture. She is primary author of the widely referenced book Developmental and Functional Hand Grasps.
“Joy, love and compassion are so important and our profession has the opportunity to make that happen with people,” Edwards said. “You work for that in your family, but to have that professionally, it’s extraordinary. I think occupational therapy is a wonderful profession, I really do.”