As a mother, watching your child struggle is extremely painful. I have three young daughters, but my seven year old has dealt with some unique emotional and behavioral challenges over the course of her young life. On the outside, she has always looked like a perfectly healthy, happy child. However, beyond the surface, our lives have been fraught with debilitating meltdowns and tears as she has been unable to navigate change, discomfort, certain social situations, and a variety of other circumstances both at home and school. We moved from Kansas to Fresno last fall and frankly, we kind of “happened” upon occupational therapy. It was almost a last ditch effort out of desperation. But through 6 months of frequent sessions and ongoing parental support with her OT, Megan Baxter (and a subsequent diagnosis of PVL, which explained her challenges), my daughter is now able to employ the necessary strategies to help herself, and my husband and I have also been equipped as parents to help our daughter live her life in a better way. Even though I am a teacher and have worked with many occupational therapists over the years, before this experience, I really had no idea of the scope of practice of OT. But now I know how broad it really is, and as both an educator and a mother, I will advocate for occupational therapy in any way possible. Our lives have forever been changed by occupational therapy. In fact, I can’t write this without tearing up because I am so grateful, and I know the place we are in now, versus the place we were, is largely due to Megan’s work as an Occupational Therapist. And I will forever be thankful for not only Megan, but for the profession itself.
By: Amy Guerrero
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Today marked the day of joy and happiness. I worked with a particular patient for a couple of weeks that had a stroke and has been trying to physically get better for the past 3 months, but his mentality was weakened since day one. He wanted to work in getting better and stronger with no hesitation. Today was his last treatment for OT and PT and as soon as i said, "you have completed your last therapy session" he began to cry. At first I thought I said something wrong, but realized it was tears of joy and accomplishment. He said, "thank you thank you for sacrificing your time in treating me to reach my goal". I replied, "time is only time, as long as I'm using it to accomplish something like this-it's worth it". I was trying to reel back my tears as he hugged me and shook my hand. This is why I want to become an OT, this is what I live for, this is what my personality is based on, and this is who I am. #OTmonth #OTpersonified
By Shariff Ibadullah
By Shariff Ibadullah
I have been an occupational therapist for 50 years, graduated from SJSU in 1966 and completed my 9 months of clinical affiliations in March 1967. I have worked in many capacities over the years: state hospital; with psychiatric and developmentally disabled (DD) clients, outpatient and acute hospital setting, SNFs, home health, schools, and groups homes for DD clients and assisted living elderly clients. I obtained my post professional MS degree in my 60s. I also was a childbirth instructor and International Breastfeeding Consultant for 10 years. I have been through my own share of living with a short term disabilities: 2 hip and 1 knee replacements, and being my own OT. And in many situations I was able to communicate with my clients on a very personal level because I often knew, experientially, what they we're going through. Last October, I attended the OTAC's Spring Symposium March 4-5. I attended the Spring Symposium not realizing that several conference sessions I attended were going to come in quite handy: Living in Place and Fall Risk and Prevention. In February, I signed up to attend the 2 day training on April 12-13, to become a Certified Living in Place Professional, A course approved by AOTA. A week after the Spring Symposium, I went from walking to using a cane to requiring a walker and ended up in the hospital for 2 days. I had a barrage of radiology tests: MRI, CT scan and ultra sound and also experienced the medical people that I saw not taking the results seriously enough, thinking that pain medications would most likely take care of the problem. All the PT did was ask me to show him I could use a walker and get in and out of bed. And a PT I saw as a outpatient just gave me some exercises to do at home. But within a week after coming home I was worse than ever. So I enlisted help from my daughter who is a MD that did 3 years of a neurosurgery residency and then switched to radiology, Within 2 days I saw a neurosurgeon and am schedule to have a lumbar laminectomy in May or June (no set date yet). But now I have to really use my OT skills, spending hours, that I now have a lot of, finding my handy dressing stick and one set of reachers, reviewing 4 wheel walkers, stair lifts, bidets, obtaining 2 more reachers, chair seats that don't cause as much electrical spams in my back and upper leg. We purchased a decent bed (not a hospital one) for me to use downstairs for an indefinite time and I have a person that is moving things out of our upstairs master bedroom-bathroom area since a bathroom renovation was already scheduled in 2 weeks.I am then looking at a curb-less shower, plenty of grab bars, shower bench, raised toilet with the bidet, etc. and expect to learn more at the Living in Place class I am attending next week. So essentially I am delivering OT services to myself and the skills that I am also gaining will allow me to better serve clients in another capacity.
By: Susan Fisher McClure, MS, OTR/L
Monday, April 24, 2017
Martha was 13 years old when she became ill with meningococcal meningitis. This led to amputations of both arms below the elbow & both legs below the knee as well as scarring on much of her body. She received extensive OT during inpatient rehabilitation using activity modification, assistive devices, & prosthetic training to allow her to go back to playing with her Barbie dolls, caring for herself, & attending school. Martha received outpatient OT on numerous occasions as a young adult to help her relearn how to accomplish daily tasks when she switched from body-powered to myoelectric arm prostheses, and to help her meet the challenges of attending college and driving a car. Martha is now in her 30s, employed full-time as a service coordinator for Orange County Regional Center, and happily married. I have been touched and honored that she has invited me to celebrate milestones with her over the years including her school graduations and her recent wedding. Martha is an inspiring example of OT helping people live life to the fullest.
By Lisa Deshaies, OTR/L, CHT
This firefighter was involved in an electrical burn resulting in an above elbow amputation. After being released from a burn center he was seen for ADL’s, prosthetic training, burn care, work re-entry and then eventually on the job training. He returned to full duty and soon thereafter promoted to engineer and taught CPR as well. He was a father of 3 children and was an inspiration to all those that were in the clinic and was often a ‘cheerleader’ encouraging other patients on a regular basis. He continues to work and lead a very active lifestyle participating in a gym program 3 days a week. Although it was over 10 years since his injury he recently received an i-limb prosthetic by touch bionics; and asked to have his OT attend his training and become certified as well. He has been a true advocate for therapy and even more for OT. He was a patient that participated in various treatment settings with OT as his primary provider source.
By: Lisa Arroyo, OTR/L, CHT, Hand Therapy Specialist
A smiling person approached me at the OTAC Spring Symposium and asked me if I recognized her. The face looked familiar but after seeing her mother I remembered this former patient of mine. The mother thanked me for helping her child during her first few years of development. She thanked all the OTs who also helped in the process. The mother cried as she hugged me and said she will never forget all that OT did. I too had tears of joy. Because of her positive experiences, the child is now pursuing an OT degree! The mother has already invited me to the graduation in 2 years. This made me realize why I became an OT- to not only help people with various abilities but to be rewarded like this.
By: Shanti Malladi
The ultimate therapeutic use of self: I am an OT with over thirty years of experience in pediatrics. I adopted an infant out of foster care who was prenatally substance and probably trauma exposed… who is now 18 and attending junior college and experiencing part-time employment… who will never stop being great! OT is my life!
By: Janyce Johnson
My sister introduced me to occupational therapy. I have always wanted to work in the healthcare field and OT was the perfect match. I currently study at West Coast University in Los Angeles and it is one of the best decisions I have made. The environment and faculty definitely motivates and inspires me to learn and be at my best.
By: Bao Hoang
To help everyone “live in place”, occupational therapists are vital! When a client has needs due to age or a condition, an interprofessional network is needed. Occupational therapists are critical in working with designers, contractors, childproofers, product manufacturers, and finance experts to ensure success!
By: Erik Listou
Over thirty years ago I took a career guidance class that recommended occupational therapy as perfect for me. Since I was already a teacher, I knew I wanted to work with children. I have worked with premature infants, children in school, and now with children at Regional Center. I started my own non-profit and love the freedom and flexibility that OT has allowed me. It’s a great profession!
Thursday, March 30, 2017
You are invited to share your most inspirational client* stories on how OT and/or their OT helped them to participate in meaningful activities to optimize their life experience.
We also welcome your personal reflections on the OT Centennial; OT float; and OTAC membership, leadership experience, Annual Conference or Spring Symposium attendance, etc. We welcome photos to accompany your stories. We recommend postings of approximately 200 words.
*Please adhere to HIPAA when sharing information about your clients.