April is occupational therapy month when we get to celebrate our profession and also bring awareness to this special field of healthcare. You already know by now that I’ve recently transitioned out of acute care setting in the hospital to my private practice, Postpartum Living, specializing in women’s heath. But enough about me! I’m dedicating this blog post to talk about what OT is and also share 4 amazing OT’s who are working in very unique areas of practice!
What is Occupational Therapy?
As occupational therapists, we become very accustomed to explaining our profession to people, almost on a daily basis. No, it’s not the same as PT. No, OT doesn’t only stand for overtime. No, occupational therapy does not help you find a job (although we do help clients develop skills to obtain, maintain and return to employment).
Occupational therapy is a rehab discipline that helps individuals engage in activities, aka “occupations” that are meaningful to them. We work with people all throughout the lifespan from tiny premature babies, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. We work with those who are recovering from illness injury or disability. We work in hospitals, rehab clinics schools, homes, workplaces, private practices. OT is unique in that it is the only profession that focuses on a clients’ holistic functioning (physical, mental and emotional) to help them live their life to their fullest.
Let’s meet some OTs!
I asked each of these Occupational Therapists:
- What area of OT to you specialize in?
- Why is this a unique and essential area in OT?
- Why do you love this niche of OT?
- My name is Tamara Bassett and my area of practice in OT is pediatrics, specifically in the area of sensory integration. I work mainly with children who have Autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, as well as children who have difficulties with fine motor/gross motor skills and poor social skills. Three years ago, I began working at a therapeutic aerial yoga studio for kids where I used an aerial yoga hammock and other tools to address sensory needs, gross and fine motor skills, and teach mindfulness to children 4 years old and above. In 2017 I became a mom and decided to put a pause on working in the clinic or studio, and started my Instagram page Bringing Up Bambino…which I hope to one day turn into a blog!
- In our current sedentary and screen obsessed world, kids are being referred to OT more and more with fine motor delays, gross motor delays, difficulty with attention, poor social skills, and sensory issues. I think my area of practice is unique and important because I am able to tie so many different skills into my work. I’m never just working on one area of need, my sessions address so many different needs and best of all the children really enjoy it. I think the way I tie aerial yoga and mindfulness into my practice sets me apart from a lot of other pediatric OTs. The mindfulness lessons I teach are always something that the child can apply outside of therapy, which I think is so important to give to clients! There is nothing better than giving children and their parents the tools to help them succeed in life and in return gain a greater self confidence! One area that I feel is lacking in the OT world is an outside source to help parents do therapeutic activities at home. Sometimes parents are on waitlists for therapy for a long time and they want to know different ways to help their child. That is why I started my Bringing Up Bambino Instagram page. For me it is a way to show parents different activities they can be doing with their children and babies to help enhance their development. My goal for the future is to start a blog and consulting service where I can help families remotely who are either waiting to be seen by an OT, are in therapy and want more ideas for home, or can’t afford therapy services and would like some guidance on what they can do to help their children. This is something I think so many families could benefit from whether their child needs services or not!
- I have always loved what I do, and as my skill areas have grown I enjoy it even more. It is so rewarding to see a child make improvements and in return become more confident! I have built amazing relationships with families, and I have always felt like I am making a difference. So much of what I teach my clients and their families are tools they can use throughout their life. I have also loved seeing responses from people on my Instagram page about how much their baby loved a certain activity I posted. I have also been able to meet other moms through IG who can relate to the different stages of parenting I am going through. Although I may not be working one on one in person with clients anymore, I feel this route has allowed me to continue to do what I love and feel that I’m still able to make a difference.
2. This model focuses on prevention and wellness which is a growing area of OT, and can have significantly positive outcomes for our clients’ health and well-being by addressing potential issues before they may occur.
3. I love having the ability to reach so many families in so many different countries! It allows me to have a greater impact, as I’m able to connect with people I otherwise wouldn’t have come across.