Friday, April 24, 2015

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY: It's the Little Things that Make Life BIG!

Thanks to Lauren for sharing this special "OT Month" post!
        When I think about my career as an occupational therapist and all the lives I have touched, the experience that always comes to mind first is when I worked in a day treatment program.  The day treatment team consisted of a speech therapist, physical therapist, and an occupational therapist. The therapists worked together to improve the independence of young individuals who had experienced a CVA or TBI.  Our purpose was to help them achieve their goals of returning to work and/or school. My experience as the OT on the this team was meaningful because I worked collaboratively with the speech therapist and physical therapist. We worked with the patients individually and also in a group, planning outings and going into the community to relearn the skills needed to gain independence.  Our outings consisted of grocery shopping, going to Target to buy Angel Tree gifts, and going to restaurants, etc.
Out of all the individuals I had the pleasure of working with on the day treatment team, there is one client who sticks out the most.  He was a man in his twenties who had a brain tumor that had affected his memory and cognition, as well as his ability to drive.  One of his goals was to enroll at the local university to pursue a degree, so we planned an outing to visit the campus and speak with the Students with Disabilities Office.  Because he was not going to be able to drive himself to campus, we rode the MATA bus to the campus.  This was a learning experience for both of us because I had never taken the bus either!  We had to learn how to transfer between buses in order to make it to our destination.  Once we made it to campus, I worked with him on reading the campus map to find the Students with Disabilities Office and helped him begin the enrollment process.  I feel like we both learned something new that day. There is nothing more rewarding than to feel like you are truly making a real difference in the life of anther person.

Lauren Woods graduated from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 2002 with a BS in Occupational Therapy. She is currently working on a Master's Degree from The University of Memphis, and she works as a therapist for the Shelby County School System. She is also on the Admissions Committee for the MOT Program at UTHSC.

Photo Credit t0zz @ FreeDigial

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1 comment:

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