News from Italy
Italy became a contributing member of ENOTHE last year through the support of the Italian Scientific Association of Occupational Therapy (SITO) associated with the Italian Association of Occupational Therapists (AITO). The decision to join ENOTHE was made by the fact that Italian occupational therapists working to educate future colleagues are eager to exchange experiences with other occupational therapists throughout Europe and to be able to offer an international perspective of the profession to our students. Most of the students once licensed remain in the country, but there are some though working abroad (for example in the UK, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland) to enrich their professional experiences.
Italy has nine university programmes in Occupational Therapy for a population of 60 million inhabitants. Most of the programmes are concentrated in the northern part of the country (Bolzano, Padua, Reggio Emilia-Modena, Milano, Pavia and Moncrivello); some are in the central part of the country (Rome, L’Aquila and Chieti); while there is none for the moment in the southern part, though recent news tells us that a new course will start next year in Catania (Sicily). The recognition of the profession took place only in 1997 and the first OT university programmes started in 2001; before that there had been only one regional school in the autonomous region of Alto Adige (Bolzano) legally educating occupational therapists.
There are on the whole 22 registered health professions in the country, each of them trained at the university level. These programmes are networking through the “Permanent Conference of the University courses of Health Professions”. Once a year meetings are organized for the teaching staff on topics that are of interprofessional interest. This year the main topic regarded “difficult students” and “students with difficulties in learning”. Also the students in Occupational Therapy are networking between the universities through the Coordinamento Studenti di Terapia occupazionale (CSTO-AITO) an inter-university student organizational body. Their newsletter is very interesting because it reports on activities of almost all the Italian programmes.
On the 17th of March there was a seminar at the State University of Milan, organized by SITO. The main speaker was Marie-Chantal Morel-Bracq, who is well known to ENOTHE, having been an active member for many years and the past director of the university programme in Bordeaux (France). Marie-Chantal will talk about Occupational Science in Occupational Therapy and the importance of “flow” (Csikszentmyhalyi). 120 occupational therapists and students in Occupational Therapy joined this important seminar.
Next year, between the 22nd and the 24th of March, 2019, SITO is organizing an international congress in Occupational Therapy in the city of Turin (Torino). The title of the congress is “Agire sull’ambiente per facilitare la partecipazione” (Acting on the environment to facilitate participation). One of the main speakers will be Helen Polatajko who has generously accepted the invitation. We will be able to give you more information in the Autumn Newsletter of ENOTHE.