Occupational Therapy Month: ABC’s of OT

Occupational Therapy Month: ABC’s of OT

Happy Occupational Therapy Month! To celebrate this AWESOME month, I’ve decided to participate in shannenmarie_ot’s ABC’s of OT Instagram challenge! However, instead of posting on Instagram I’ve decided to transform the ABC’s of OT challenge into blog posts to provide you in-depth insight to the occupational therapy scope of practice and to advocate for my future profession. Stay all month long for 26 letters + bonus days of occupational therapy advocacy or just read a post here and there. I hope that through this I can teach at least a few people something new about occupational therapy! Enjoy!

Letter A: Activities of Daily Living (also known as ADLs!)

All the things you engage in on a daily basis to take care of your body for basic survival and well-being are considered ADLs. ADLs include bathing/showering, toileting, dressing, swallowing/eating, feeding, functional mobility, personal device care (i.e. hearing aids, prosthetics, glasses), personal hygiene/grooming, and sexual activity.

So how do OTs address ADLs in practice? We can teach safe transfer techniques from wheelchair to shower bench for an individual recovering from hip replacement. We can teach dressing strategies for an individual who has hemiplegia after a stroke. We can provide a buttonhook to a child who has poor fine motor coordination. We can teach parents feeding techniques so that they can feed their child who has cerebral palsy. We can help to augment confidence for sexual activity for an individual with a spinal cord injury. We can make home modifications using visual cues on stairs for individuals with low vision. The list goes on.

I hope you’ve been enlightened on day 1! Feel free to post below with any questions/comments. For now, I’ll leave you with this picture of my friend, Jess, feeding me during our pediatrics feeding lab!

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OT Chronicles Chapter 5: The Half-Week

OT Chronicles Chapter 5: The Half-Week

I STARTED OT SCHOOL THIS WEEK!!!  CRAZINESS!

This week was met with a lot of nervousness, a lot of excitement, and so much gratitude!  I spent my Labor Day weekend before classes started stressing over the anatomy & physiology competency exam scheduled for Day 1.  I busied myself with organizing my binders, books, backpack, and checking emails repetitively.  I reviewed the A&P information religiously until Tuesday night when I turned to Josh and said “I just can’t keep looking at this”.  So, instead of staying up late studying feverishly, I spent the night before classes started relaxing, preparing my belongings for the morning, and spending time with Josh who insisted on sending me off on my 1st day of grad school (side note: my parents were in Utah visiting my brother so they weren’t home all week so I am extremely grateful that Josh was willing to be my support system for my 1st day jitters!).

Wednesday morning Josh & I were up early because he had to leave my house early in order to get to work in time.  My mom insisted she needed a 1st day of school picture so before Josh left my house he was snapping awkward 1st day of school photos at 6 o’clock in the morning.  I stood next to a smiley face balloon that Granny had given me the day before.  Quite comical if you ask me!

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After Josh left, I ate a hearty breakfast and packed my lunch.  I kissed the dogs goodbye and headed out the door for my 50-minute commute.  I left my house two hours before class started because I was worried about finding parking and didn’t want to feel rushed.  Five minutes into my drive, I approached an unexpected detour.  Just my luck!  I found my way around the detour and continued on my intended route.  I also took the wrong jug-handle at one point in my drive.  Oops!  Nevertheless, I arrived before 8 AM, there was plenty of parking, and I wandered through campus to calm my nerves.

I got to class 30 minutes early, sat next to a classmate I remembered from orientation, and settled in.  We all chatted amongst ourselves which was a wonderful way to distract ourselves from the looming competency exam.

We took a class picture (the most awake and put-together we will probably look all semester).  We did an ice breaker activity called “speed dating”.  This was super fun!  We also reviewed for the exam in an untraditional way which I enjoyed!

By mid-morning, we were taking the competency exam.  This was pass/fail scoring.  You either passed or you didn’t.  After turning in the exam, I knew my weaknesses and what I needed to improve on moving forward.  I was confident I had passed but knew that I still had plenty of room for growth!

We had an hour lunch break so I printed a few things and relaxed outside.  The remainder of the day included a review of the class readings we had already been assigned.  Also…. I had passed the competency exam!  YAY!

On the second day of classes, we reviewed the syllabi, discussed our reading assignments, and began a case study on schizophrenia.  I am excited to continue to learn about my cohort and the material for each class.  I know it will be challenging but I know it will all be worth it!

I also met with my professor for my graduate assistantship.  I was given some of my responsibilities for the semester and I’m excited to get started on this!

Our professors also continuously reminding us that the cohort & faculty are a team.  Three-hundred people had applied to the program but only 30 were given seats.  We are no longer competing against each other because we all deserve to be where we are.  We will help each other succeed and overcome challenges.  We will work together because we all share one common goal – to become occupational therapists.  The faculty wants us to succeed so they will help us when help is needed.

We’ve only had two days of classes (hence why this blog is titled “The Half-Week”).  I spent today developing a weekly “agenda” (basically a check-list for each class) of readings, assignments, quizzes/tests that are “due” the upcoming so that everything can be somewhat organized.  I am using this as a supplement to my planner for the time being so that everything is organized in a clear and concise way.  I’m not sure if this is something I’ll stick with in the long-term, but with so much information in the last two days, I feel this is the best way to move forward.

I have so much gratitude the start of this new, exciting adventure.  I can’t wait to continue to learn, be challenged, and develop strong relationships with my cohort and professors!  I am grateful for Josh being there for my 1st day of grad school and the support of my parents/family from afar.

I’m sure that this blog posts won’t always be this lengthy, but for now, I hope that you’ve enjoyed my rambling!

OT Chronicles Chapter 3: Observation Hours

OT Chronicles Chapter 3: Observation Hours

Observation hours are a typical requirement for applying to OT grad school.  Observations are beneficial for several reasons!  This is a great time to explore the field of occupational therapy.  It is a great time to learn if the career is a right fit for you.  Lastly, it is a wonderful time to start making connections with occupational therapists in your area.  You might find it overwhelming at first to lock down observation sites, but, with persistence, you can succeed!  I’ve organized this post into before, during, and after segments.. enjoy!

Preparing for Observations

I Googled occupational therapy services in a variety of settings and populations.  I Googled nearby schools, rehab centers, hospitals, assisted living communities, and nursing facilities.  I made an organized list of locations and contact information to start reaching out to occupational therapists.

My list was quite long; however, some sites didn’t have availability for observations and some sites required you to become a volunteer before attending observations (which included orientations, medical protocol, and the occasional fees).

It is probably in your best interest, especially if you are working part-time or are a current student, to avoid locations that require you to become a volunteer first.  This can be time-consuming and unnecessarily stressful.  I am not discouraging sites that require this particular protocol; however, personally, knowing that I would only be logging a few hours at such sites wasn’t worth the reward.  Instead, I found sites that welcomed me as I was – someone simply interested in becoming an occupational therapy student!

Plan to do more observation hours than what is required by the school you are applying to.  I personally logged over 60 hours at 7 different sites.  This provided me with so much time to learn and experience what each setting/population had to offer in the field of OT.  Added bonus: schools love seeing that you put in more time than you were required to complete!

When in contact with the OT you will be shadowing, there are several things you should verify prior to the observation date(s):

  • Observation Hour Totals:  Make sure to tell the OT you contacted how many hours you are interested in logging with them so they can provide appropriate dates/times for you to observe.
  • Dates/time: Some places offered full-day observations, some offered half-day observations.  Write down which day(s) you’re observing, when to arrive, and when you’ll be leaving so you know if you need to bring lunch/snacks.
  • Contact Person upon Arrival:  Some OTs you contact will be the OT you observe.  Some OTs you contact will send you off with a fellow colleague to observe them.  Make sure you know who to ask for when you get to your observation site.
  • Dress code: Most of the places I observed at wanted me to dress in business casual attire.  Make sure you ask what the dress code is because every site is different!

Always plan to arrive early to the observation site.  This gives you time to find parking, locate the entrance, and relax before heading inside.

During Observations

You’ve walked into the observation site.  Now what?!

Remember this: You are there to observe.  You are there to learn.  You are there to experience what OTs do everyday.

Allow the OT to do their job while they are with a patient.  Some OTs will walk you through each step of what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Other OTs will let you observe and then debrief you later.  Save your inquiries until treatment is over, unless the OT is providing an environment of open-communication.

I really enjoyed asking OTs about their educational background, their experiences in various OT settings, their experiences in the OT setting they are currently working in, and why they chose OT as their life-long profession.  Doing so created a relationship for broader learning.

In some settings, you will also get to interact with patients.  Some patients will tell you their stories openly.  If the OT opens this gate of communication for you, dive in!  Ask them what they’ve experienced so far through their OT treatment.  Observations are a great opportunity to experience therapy with both the OT and the patient.

If the opportunity arises, observe other colleagues who are therapists too.  I learned a lot about speech therapists and PTs while I was with OTs.  It was really eye-opening to see how all the therapists worked together.  Feel free to ask them therapy-related questions too!  Remember, you’re there to learn – soak it all in!

Before departing from the observation site, make sure to thank the OT or verify future dates/times you will be observing them.  This affirms the relationship you built with them and establishes gratitude in allowing you to be their shadow all day long.

After Observations

When your time at each observation site is complete, I found it very useful to take notes on my experiences.  I wrote down the name(s) of the OT(s) that I observed.  I wrote down what I observed in great detail.  I explained some of the challenges patients were facing and how the OT was striving to improve their success.

I also wrote down what I enjoyed about the setting and what I was unsure about.  Some settings I enjoyed way more than others!  Some settings were so educational that I can still remember what I learned from each OT.  Some settings I felt were limited by the OT’s enthusiasm to provide me with a strong educational experience.  However, some OTs made a lasting impact on my personal professional goals.

Below, I’ve created a list of the types of settings I observed at, the population I observed, how many hours I observed there, and a brief summary of what I experienced.  My observation journal is very detailed so I will do my best to provide a brief synopsis.

  • developmental center for children with developmental disorders:
    • Population: children with autism, Down Syndrome, and other learning disabilities
    • OT’s role in treatment: improvements on fine motor skills (i.e writing, use of scissors, learning shapes, working zippers) and gross motor skills (i.e coordination)
    • Priorities in this setting: classroom function, improving social skills, improving communication, improvements on age-appropriate independent activities
    • Total Observation Hours: 6.5 hours (one day)
  • hand therapy in out-patient rehab & adult day care:
    • Population: adults, geriatrics
    • OT’s role in treatment: fine motor skills via hand therapy, care for chronic pain, coordination
    • Priorities in this setting: ease symptoms of chronic pain via stretching & massage, improve ability to complete tasks independently
    • Total Observation Hours: 8.5 hours (2 days)
  • adult day care:
    • Population: geriatrics
    • OT’s role in treatment: pain management, memory testing/function
    • Priorities in this setting: ease symptoms of chronic pain via heat, massage, and stretching; evaluate memory function for potential return-to-home patients
    • Total Observation Hours: 9 hours (3 days)
  • skilled nursing facility (SNF):
    • Population: geriatrics, adults with psychological disorders
    • OT’s role in treatment: teaching ADL safety, memory/cognition treatments, fine & gross motor skills
    • Priorities in this setting: promote independence, maintain current memory/cognition functions, develop social skills
    • Total Observation Hours: 7.25 hours (1 day)
    • Special note: I observed a traveling therapist at this location who had ample experience in a variety of settings/populations.  Traveling therapy was intriguing to me and her past OT experiences were very informative.  I also observed a COTA who taught me that “everything is OT”.  I couldn’t agree more with her!
  • hand therapy in out-patient rehab:
    • Population: adults of various ages
    • OT’s role in treatment: fine motor skills, return-to-work skills, pain management
    • Priorities in this setting: strengthen fingers, wrist, and lower arm post-surgery/injury so that patients can return to work or their day-to-day activities
    • Total Observation Hours: 10 hours (2 days)
  • acute rehab
    • Population: adults of various ages
    • OT’s role in treatment: ADLs, use of adaptive equipment
    • Priorities in this setting: promote independence, transition from hospital to rehab to home
    • Total Observation Hours: 12 hours (2 days)
    • Special note:  This was actually my favorite setting because each patient was different; the OTs used different treatment plans for every patient because every patient needed something different before (hopefully) going home!
  • school/developmental center:
    • Population: children & young adults (with cerebral palsy and and other physical or developmental disorders)
    • OT’s role in treatment: adaptive classroom learning, promote communication with or without adaptive equipment, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, enhance appropriate social skills
    • Priorities in this setting: promote communication, teach play, teach classroom skills, teach behavioral skills
    • Total Observation Hours: 9 hours (2 days)

There you go!  Observation sites 101!  I hope that wherever you go or wherever you’ve been to observe has been a positive experience for you.  I am grateful for the locations I observed at and the OTs that took the time out of their hectic schedules to teach me what OT is all about!  Observing them just affirmed that this is indeed the right profession for me!

OT Chronicles Chapter 2: Applying to OT grad school(s)

OT Chronicles Chapter 2: Applying to OT grad school(s)

To begin, I will be 100% honest about applying to grad school – it’s stressful.  It will test your ability to make decisions.  It will test your creativity and determination.  It will test your patience.  But, it’s all minute stress compared to the imminent stress that grad school itself will bring.

Below are some tips, tricks, and insights to applying to grad school for a MSOT program.

Step 1:  Do your research.

When you start looking for grad schools offering MSOT programs there’s a lot to take into consideration.  Where do you want to go to school?  Will you commute or live on/near campus?  What kind of program does each school offer?  Is it a full-time, standard program?  Is it a weekend-hybrid program?  Does the school require you to take the GRE?  What are the pre-requisites required to apply to the program?  Do they have a supplemental application in addition to the OTCAS application?  Attend graduate open houses or program information sessions for the schools you are interested in applying to.  Do your research, take notes, and write down any important dates and deadlines.

Step 2:  Get ahead on application pre-requisites and other requirements

Make sure you have fulfilled all of the course pre-requisites to apply to the MSOT you are interested in.  Most pre-requisite requirements include some form of anatomy & physiology, psychology, sociology, lifespan development, and statistics.  Check the website for the program you are interested in so that you know exactly what courses you need to be considered for the program.

Also, begin researching potential locations for observation hours in the OT setting.  It would be in your best interest to chose a variety of settings and populations.  This will strengthen your application and give you irreplaceable observation experiences in the field of OT.  Contact the OT departments of each location you are interested in, explain your process of applying to grad schools, and tell them what days/times you are available to observe.  Ask about dress code expectations, where to park and enter the building, and who you will be shadowing.  (I will create a separate blog post in the future with my personal observation experiences)

Step 3:  Understanding OTCAS

OTCAS is the common app specifically for OT schools.  Make sure you check application release dates as you won’t be able to start this application until OTCAS opens their applications.  Once the application opens, start working on it.  There are multiple sections to fill out with educational & work history and other personal experiences.  You will need to have all of your undergraduate transcripts sent to OTCAS.  You will need letters of recommendation from multiple professionals involved in your educational, athletic, or professional background.

The OTCAS process is lengthy and can be very time-consuming.  It’s best to start the OTCAS process early so that you don’t feel panicked about deadlines.  You will discover that some parts of the OTCAS application are completely out of your control.  Be patient, remain persistent and attentive, and stay alert to things that are time-sensitive.  Before submitting your OTCAS application, make sure to review all of the information you’ve provided to make sure you aren’t missing any information that could strengthen your application.

Step 4:  Check for supplemental applications

Some MSOT programs have their own supplemental application.  Be diligent when researching schools so that you know which schools have a supplemental application and which ones do not.  Programs typically don’t release their individualized application until many weeks/months after the OTCAS application has been released so, once again, be attentive to when applications become available.

Make sure you follow all instructions and requirements needed in the supplemental application.  As always, proofread EVERYTHING before you submit your application.

Step 5:  Organize follow-up dates

Most schools provide the estimated time of application response on their websites and/or applications.  Some schools admit students on a rolling basis (first come, first served so get those applications submitted ASAP!) while other schools do not start considering applications until after the posted deadline.  To minimize admittance/declination anxiety, write down expected response dates.  This will help maintain relative sanity while you wait.  During this time, the applications are completely out of your control.  Have faith in the applications you have submitted.  After all, all you can truly do is wait.

Step 6:  Admittance/Waitlisted/Declination

Depending on the response from each school, you may or may not have follow-up steps to complete.  If you are declined from a school (and I assure you that it will happen), try not to panic.  MSOT programs are extremely competitive.  Accept that you tried your best and evaluate what may have been any weaknesses in your application (for me, it was my GRE scores).  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.  Don’t give up on a goal; just work harder to achieve it – even if that means completing the application process again.

If you are waitlisted, all you can do is wait to hear back from them.  They should explain in the waitlist letter/email when to expect further communication; however, each school has a slightly different process.  Make sure to read all correspondence thoroughly!

If you are accepted to a school, they will provide follow-up steps moving forward.  This most likely includes either A) sending a deposit to guarantee your spot in the program or B) scheduling an interview for the continuation of the application process.

Step 7 (varies by school/individual):  Deposit and/or taking the next step

Personally, I was declined by the first school I heard from.  I panicked.  I doubted my worth.  I was fearful.  All I could do was wait to hear from the other two schools.  I was also waitlisted by the fourth school I heard from.  All I can say is trust that God has a plan for you.

I was accepted by the second school I heard from; however, it was my last choice on my list of school preferences.  This particular school needed a deposit within a month’s time of acceptance (basically by mid-January).  Unfortunately, I would not hear from the other two schools until AT LEAST early/mid February.  I weighed my options, wasn’t willing to take a risk, and decided to pay the deposit even before hearing from the final two schools.  So, I bit the bullet and sent in a very pricey deposit.

Deposits might be one of many challenges you’ll face during the application process.  All schools have different timelines.  Make sure you have money saved away to pay these deposits.  I erred on the side of caution by putting a deposit down on a school I wasn’t fully interested in attending.  I wanted a Plan B in place in case Plan A didn’t work.

Step 8 (varies by school/individual):  Interview

A few weeks after sending in a deposit, I heard from my top choice school who offered an interview – the final step in their application process.  My interview was scheduled for mid/late February.  They sent a webinar we were required to watch leading up to the interview day.  This explained everything we needed to know for the interview itself.

I spent the week leading up to the interview preparing.  This entailed reviewing notes on the observation hours I had completed and being mindful of my decision to apply to grad school in the first place.

Leading up to my interview I spent a lot of time writing.  I wrote about why I wanted to become an OT, what I learned about the OT profession through research and observation, what I admired about the OTs I observed, what I learned from the OTs I observed, and what drove me to seek this particular profession.  It was a mental refresher for me to visualize myself learning more and more about this career path.

Pick out a professional outfit, know where to meet for the interview process, what time to arrive, and what to expect during the final stage of the application process.  Take notes, plan ahead, arrive early, and remember to breathe.

For my personal interview experience, we had a group meeting with faculty who presented an overview of the program, completed a timed essay section that tested our ability to think on the spot, and had an individual interview with two faculty members.

Be human during the interview.  Talk with understanding, speak with confidence, listen attentively, and answer every question with your heart.  Don’t go into the interview with memorized answers that make you sound like a robot.  The interviewers are humans that want to speak with a human.  Always arrive to the interview with questions for the faculty and before departing thank them for their time.  Remember….be human.

Step 8: the end of the application process

There isn’t usually anything to do after the interview.  The interview is the pinnacle.  Waiting to hear back from schools can be painstakingly slow.  I assure you that they will contact you when everything has been reviewed.  When you hear back from a school after an interview, follow step 6 or 7.

Be excited for the schools that have offered you a spot in their competitive program.  Don’t be afraid to brag about it and be excited about it!  Call friends and family about it!  Celebrate it.

The application process is just the beginning.  It is lengthy.  It will test your patience and determination.  It will force you to face your weakness.  However, it will also force you to display your strengths.

Work hard for what you want in life.  Be passionate about things that give you hope for your future.  Work persistently and with determination towards the things that give you purpose.  Be mindful and grateful always for the opportunity for learning.

If you can get through the application process, you’re on a path to better things.

Rambles

Rambles

Everyday I remind myself that in September my life will change.  I will have opportunities for a better future.  I will be mentored by wise professors.  I will be surrounded by individuals all striving for the same professional impact for their communities.  I will be working towards an ambition that has restlessly stirred in my heart for over a year now.

These months leading up to the start of grad school have challenged me.  I’ve measured my worth by a part-time job that leaves me feeling defeated, degraded, and stuck.  I’ve sacrificed time with family, Josh, and clients because my availability for my true passions in life have been limited.  I interact with ungrateful, ignorant, impatient customers everyday.  I wish they knew that my future is much brighter than me standing behind a cash register.  They only see me as a girl who is stuck working at a minimum wage job.  If they only knew where I will be in less than 4 months.

I worked at a wine festival a few weekends ago and it was the most fun I’ve had working in a long, long time.  It was chaotic, it was stressful, it was exhausting, but it was wonderful compared to the monotony of retail.  I felt like I was contributing to society in an enjoyable way (because let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy wine?!).

I haven’t logged my runs in my Believe journal in over 2 weeks.  I think my mileage has hovered somewhere between 25-30 miles.  I’ve only been able to get in one speed workout per week (my goal when I made my training plan had been two); however, I feel like my speed workouts have been strong.  Luckily this spring I decided to only compete in shorter races (my longest being a half-marathon next month).  I’m giving myself kudos for not signing up for an ultra.  It would’ve been stressful trying to squeeze in necessary runs to train for a race of that distance.  I run at all times of day – early mornings, mid-day, or late afternoons – whenever I can fit it in.

Josh & I have been counting down the days until our vacation in 17 days.  SEVENTEEN DAYS.  This vacation will be a reset for both of our lives.  It will be the biggest adventure of our relationship thus far.  It will be time spent together that we’ve needed for months now. I can’t wait to board a plane with him for his first plane ride ever.  I can’t wait until he sets eyes on the mountains of Colorado for the first time.  I can’t wait to explore new places with him.  Most importantly, I can’t wait to make memories with him that will last us a lifetime.

I’ve been following OTs and OT students on Instagram and blogs and it just makes me so excited for the future.  I know grad school will be hard.  I know the sacrifices I’ve made these past few months to save up a little extra money will be menial when I get a true career.  I know that my life will be better once grad school starts even though it will surely be more stressful.

Life is a challenge but when you surround yourself with supportive, empowering, loving people the challenges are manageable.  You find ways to overcome challenges with such people.  You learn about yourself.  You learn about the people who love you.  You learn that life can be made better when you stand by your choices, when you look out for yourself, and when every ounce of your body is determined to turn away from your burdens and strive for your aspirations.

 

OT Chronicles Chapter 1: What is OT?

OT Chronicles Chapter 1: What is OT?

As I am patiently waiting for grad school to start in September, I have decided to document my occupational therapy (OT) journey.  By doing so, I hope to help anyone looking into OT as a career.  I am starting “OT Chronicles” in the midst of Occupational Therapy Month (April) to advocate for the field of OT and to share my experiences with potential future OT professionals.

Disclaimer:  Let it be known that “OT Chronicles” is meant to enlighten and share my current knowledge of the OT profession.  Not every question regarding OT will be answered within these posts; however, I hope to enlighten whomever reads them to advocate for and teach others about this wonderful profession!  Let’s begin with the basics!

What is Occupational Therapy?

Without quoting any direct sources, occupational therapy is branch of therapy that aims to assist individuals of all ages engage in activities (occupations) that they both want and need to engage in.  Such occupations can be functional-based for successful living (i.e. showering, cooking, working, cleaning, caring for others, medication management, etc) or recreational (engaging in games/sports, age-based socialization skills, gardening, etc).  Occupational therapy is a goal-oriented career field that helps individuals adapt to their environments so that they can accomplish what they need to do and what they want to do.

Who do OTs provide therapy to?

OTs work with populations throughout the entire lifespan.  Children, adults, and the geriatric population can all benefit from OT when a therapy need arises.

Where do OTs work?

You can find OTs working in early intervention programs (children birth to 3 years old), schools, in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation centers, senior living communities, skilled nursing facilities, or hospitals.  OTs can also provide home health services.  OTs can also have a career as a traveling therapist which provides an opportunity to continuously work in a variety of environments.  The occupational therapy field provides a broad array of settings allowing for a variety of skill sets, environment preferences, and population preferences.

OT through the Lifespan:

Children with developmental disorders, behavioral issues, or cognitives or physical delays oftentimes work with occupational therapists through early intervention or in a school environment.  OTs working with children typically focus on fine and gross motor skills, communication skills, self-care, and learning how to play/interact with others.

OTs work with adults who have experienced severe injuries, who are recovering from surgery, and who have chronic diseases, mental or physical disabilities, eating disorders, the list is lengthy.  OTs working with adults typically focus on activities of daily living (ADLs) skills, return-to-work skills (when applicable), social skills, engaging in individualized meaningful activities, and the use of adaptive skills for safe and effective occupations.

OTs who work with the geriatric population typically work with individuals who have experienced severe injuries, who are recovering from surgery, who have chronic diseases or physical disabilities, or who are experiencing cognitive/memory loss.  OTs working with geriatrics focus on accomplishing ADLS, maintaining or improving levels of independence, engaging in self-care, maintaining cognitive abilities and memory, and engaging in meaningful activities important to the individual.

Why choose OT as a career?

Everyone has a different reason they decided to become an occupational therapist.  I’m not going to share all of those different reasons with you today; however, I will share with you my reason for pursuing OT.  I hosted a balance workshop during my short stint at a fitness center.  I began researching creative exercises for improving balance and I came across several videos involving OTs. BAM!  The field of occupational therapy was nearly jumping out of the computer screen at me!

At the time of this balance workshop, I was feeling shorted for a dead-end career path.  I knew I needed something more.  After researching the field of OT, I discovered how much OT matched with my functional approach to exercises, my desire for a career with endless opportunities for compassion, and my personal ambition to make a difference in the lives of individuals I interact with.  Occupational therapy seemed like a perfect match for me.

So, with that being said, I resigned from my job at the fitness center and put all of my energy towards learning more about OT, applying to grad school, and pursuing the field of occupational therapy.

Here I am now, 5 months away from starting grad school.  I’ve written my 1st ever blog post for “OT Chronicles” & hopefully I’ve enlightened the people who thought that occupational therapists just help people find jobs.  Wrong, very wrong….. stay tuned for more chapters of “OT Chronicles”!