My first year creating a dance program for people with physical challenges was an inspirational and pivotal one for me. I had already been an OT for 5 years, and I had been working with my group of dancers for a few months to be a part of the Rancho Los Amigos Performing Arts Show. Needless to say, they did amazing! After the show, our group met and talked and I told them how proud I was of each and every one of them. One of the dancers turned to the group and shared something incredible. He said he felt particularly accomplished. However, what he was most proud of was not the dancing at all! Our group “costume” for that show was our team shirt and blue jeans. He shared with us that after 20 years of being injured, he wore jeans for the first time that day. He explained he had worn sweatpants since his injury and he was so happy to be able to go to the store and buy blue jeans. He also shared that he had to use the regular toilet for the first time because we had to change before the show, and although he was afraid, he did it! As an OT, I could really appreciate what this meant for him (and I felt like the best OT ever!). That moment reaffirmed my belief in the power of meaningful occupation to change lives!
By: Debbie Wang, OTR/L