Respawn: Will the Video Game Message Translate to an International Audience?

As a medical professional, you often engage in conversations about different types of treatment strategies and ways to do things. I was preparing my presentations for the conference and wondered how this would play out to an international audience who may not have the same ideas and views of Occupational Therapy as I did. Would they think that my message of using video games in therapy was a joke? What about the language barrier? Would things literally get lost in translation? Would they even care? These were all things that I was trying to consider as I constructed my plan of attack. The quickest and easiest way to help people understand is to dive into our professional past and give them a good foundation on why it works. If you recall, I mentioned in a previous post that OT was born during World War I.

Reconstruction Aides (Occupational Therapists) helping wounded Soldiers by engaging them in activity.

We were called Reconstruction Aides back then and our mission was to pull guys out of the fight to engage them in activities. By doing this, you help them reset and decompress. It was an incredible tool to treat Combat and Operational Stress Reactions. The message that I continue to bring to the table with these type of discussions are that we’re doing the exact same thing but in a way that would be generationally relevant to our troops today.

A new take on Occupational Therapy that is generationally relevant

I knew that there would be no way that message wouldn’t be understood. It was fail proof.

The minute I got off the plane in Alicante, Spain, I knew that this was going to be something special. I had two students waiting for me at the airport who informed me that apparently I was the “main attraction” for the conference and that there was a lot of buzz about me coming. My immediate thoughts were that I couldn’t screw it up. I needed to have a strong representation and send a good message.

My keynote address was first thing in the morning the next day. I wanted to have a chance to coordinate with my interpreters before I began so that specific words would translate well to the audience. I was concerned with words like polytrauma and heterotopic ossification.

The crew was incredible and helped me rest easy that the message would be easily translated. The three things I wanted make sure I talked about were:

  • Operation Supply Drop
  • Army Occupational Therapy and treating complex polytrauma
  • Pushing yourself as a clinical practitioner

The presentation was incredibly well received and I did a follow up workshop for them later in the day. It was a more informal session that gave me a chance to answer questions and get more involved with the congress participants.

With day one in the books, I could then concentrate on networking and building individual relationships. Day two gave me that opportunity and more. I was asked to be a part of a radio show and talk about Military OT and using Video Games as a treatment tool. You can hear the broadcast here:

Radio show from UMH

Toward the conclusion of the conference, I realized one big thing that need to bring to the table in future conferences……..the actual hands on experience. Working with the leadership of OSD, we’re going to figure out the best way to do this. My ultimate goal is that I will be able to bring multiple systems with me everywhere I speak and have huge interactive sessions at various professional medical conferences.  That’s the next step……

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