What I Wish People Knew About My Job As An Occupational Therapist
As an occupational therapist, I wear many hats.
As a healer, I need to be a good listener for my patient, in order to hear the real issues and areas to address effectively. I can perform manual treatments to reduce swelling and pain, teach how to move body parts that are limited temporarily or modified activities when permanent loss is present.
As an advocate, my role is to help the patient be re-integrated into their community, their family, or whatever group, cultural or leisure interests they may have enjoyed previously. Also, I help parents with their children, do the same.
As a healthcare professional, I try to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and help them get the assistance and achieve their goals and aspire to dream again.
As an OT, I have seen my fill of medical conditions and physical impairments. In private practice, I had a young male patient that had a diagnosis of Aspersers (Autism Spectrum). He was 12 years old at the time when he and his entourage of “friends” started coming to my clinic. These friends called him “King of the Overworld” (found out later that was from the Legend of Zelda!) Whenever Brian did not want to engage in an activity he would tell me “Zero doesn't like that game” or “Champ wants to play this game”. His imaginary friends were his alters and once I learned how to play his “game” we were able to entice Brian’s participation to address his fine motor and movement skills.
I would say “well Zero wants to play this game with me so you guys go ahead and sit over there until we are done.” It didn’t take too many times of me engaging with his friends, that one day Brian showed up alone. “Where are your friends today Brian”, I asked him. He responded, “ I think they were jealous of you and me so I told them to stay home from now on”. And that was the last time I ever “saw” them. Brian continued to make progress with motor skills, self-regulation, social skills and problem solving skills.
What a memorable time for me as a therapist!
If you would like to meet our occupational therapist, & ask her some questions, don't hesitate to call us at 253.237.3405 to schedule a discovery visit, or to just express a concern. We would love to meet you!