Students' wave of enthusiasm for lessons of Beach Day Out

Published:02 October 2019

TOP: Physiotherapy lecturer Dr Vanesa Bochkezanian (in wheelchair) with Physio students L-R Chelsea Dendle, Caitlyn Gorman, Caitlyn Allison and Dulmi Ranatunga. BELOW: Highlights from the recent Beach Day Out at Emu Park.

Moving their classroom to the Capricorn Coast for a day has been a worthwhile exercise for CQUniversity Physiotherapy staff and students.

They not only provided valuable volunteer support to the annual Beach Day Out event, held at Emu Park during Disability Action Week.

Students were also able to hone their career aspirations by experiencing opportunities relating to disability and paediatrics.

Caitlyn Gorman said it was fun to work with kids and to look into opportunities including disability.

"It did bring us all together helping to get the kids having a go and getting to know each other outside the University setting. It was enjoyable for us and the children and other participants as well," she said.

Dulmi Ranatunga said she appreciated the chance to help hoist participants into the beach-ready wheelchairs.

"We all worked as a team to get the kids involved because some were apprehensive," she said.

Caitlyn Allison said the students appreciated involvement with people who have a range of limitations.

"For them to get out in the water and do things they don't get to do on a daily basis was positive and a reinforcement for us that we should be holding more community events or really trying to get them involved more," she said.

Chelsea Dendle said it was great to witness so many different support networks for people with disabilities.

"It is definitely something I want to be involved with later on," she said.

Lecturer Dr Vanesa Bochkezanian said the Beach Day Out aims to promote positive attitudes towards people with a disability while breaking down stereotypes, improving community support and highlighting issues that may prevent people with disabilities accessing services and facilities.

"The Beach Day Out helps to provide information, link services and establish partnerships between agencies," she said.

“At CQUniversity, we train our Physiotherapy students to work with people with physical disabilities and this event provided an excellent opportunity for them to put what they have learnt into practice.

"Our students were able to assist in transfers from wheelchairs to adapted chairs to facilitate beach accessibility. They were also involved in beach sport activities and provided support to carers and people with different abilities.

"I believe that giving students the opportunity to help people with disabilities not only helps them develop their skills as future Physiotherapy graduates, but also gives them a wonderful sense of purpose for their future careers in the health industry."