“Touro’s Mission is About Giving Back”

SHS Occupational Therapy Professor Alex Lopez Runs Camp for Developmentally Delayed Children

March 29, 2017

“There is an understanding at Touro that we’re going to contribute to community and do something greater,” said Lopez, a professor in Touro’s School of Health Sciences (SHS) Occupational Therapy program. “Touro’s mission is about giving back.”

That’s one of the reasons why Lopez, an army veteran who is an occupational therapist, started Inclusive Sports and Fitness. The summer program takes children with developmental disabilities, like autism spectrum disorder, and pairs them with Touro occupational therapy students and their typically developmentally peers. Each camper receives specialized occupational therapy and physical therapy and the latest evidence-based treatments.

“These are children who have problems socializing,” explained Lopez, who pursued a law career before becoming an occupational therapist. “We teach these children how to move their bodies effectively, how to communicate and socialize effectively and help develop their cognitive abilities.”  

Describing one child, Lopez explained that at the beginning of the summer, the child “moved like a robot.” After the summer, he was able to drive a ball 160 yards. Even his IQ scores improved.

“I hope to inspire my students to see OT as more than a profession or a career,” concluded Lopez.  “It’s more than a 9-5 job.  Every interaction you have can make a difference in someone’s life.”