OT month 2019 is a wrap! This year it was great fun engaging with fellow OTs on social media to spread awareness about the occupational therapy profession. I completed the ABCs of OT challenge hosted by @shannenmarie_ot. Below is a recap of my entire alphabet this year.

A- is for accessibility. The extent to which a space or resource can be accessed by those who need to do so. Occupational therapists can serve as consultants in order to help older adults age in place. By making modifications to a home, occupational therapists can make the environment safe and accessible.Visit this link for AOTA’s Aging in Place checklist.

B- is for bilateral coordination. Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time in a smooth manner. Difficulty with this skill can indicate that both sides of the brain are not communicating effectively. Having good bilateral coordination skills is important for tasks such as buttoning, cutting with scissors, feeding, and manipulation of everyday objects.

C- is for continuing education. I love the inspiration I feel after I leave a good course. It is like a refresh, and always makes me feel like a more competent therapist. For those looking for good courses, look no further than Summit. Summit Education offers a yearly membership for and affordable price that includes live and online courses. I have personally gained good value from the membership. The speakers are always knowledgable and provide great resources.

D- is for documenting. OTs spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer typing away. Though a tedious task, it is of the utmost importance for OTs to learn how to effectively summarize their treatment sessions in a clear and concise way. Through evaluation reports, progress notes, daily treatment notes, and discharge summaries. OTs can demonstrate the progress of their patients, and the effectiveness of the skilled interventions they provide.

E- is for entrepreneur. OTs have many options when it comes to employment. In the recent years more and more OTs are opting to be their own boss in order to have the flexibility of deciding when, where, and how much they want to work. Some ways OTs can achieve this is by serving as contractors to hospitals/clinics, starting their own private practice, and creating occupational therapy related content online.

F: is for figure-ground. Figure-ground is the ability to see an object in a busy background. This skill is important for everyday activities such as locating items inside a drawer, looking for items in the grocery store, copying from a white board in the classroom, and many more.

G- is for goniometer. A goniometer is an instrument used to measure angles. Occupational therapists use goniometers in order to measure the range of motion of a persons joints.

H- is for homonymous hemianopsia. A condition in which there is loss of vision on the right or left side of both eyes. The most common causes of homonymous hemianopsia are stroke and trauma. –
Occupational therapists can work with patients diagnosed with this condition in order to maximize function. Some compensatory strategies include:
🖤work in adequate lighting. Increasing intensity and reducing glare
🖤teach patient to turn their head from left to right to properly visually scan the room in order to increase safety
🖤use large print with a high contrast for written handouts
🖤an eye patch on one eye can help with double vision
🖤teach the patient about devices such as talking watches, audiobooks…
🖤when addressing the patient stand directly in front of them and at their eye level

I- is for infant. Occupational therapists work with infants in order to promote age appropriate play for achievement of developmental milestones. When working with this population occupational therapists collaborate closely with parents/caregivers in order to educate about developmental stages. 📷 via: Occupational Therapy for Children sixth edition. 

J: is for just-right-challenge. To promote change a therapeutic activity must be challenging. However, presenting a child with an activity that is out of their skill level can lead to frustration. When providing a child with their just-right-challenge an OT should consider that 🖤the activity matches the child’s developmental skills and interests 🖤provides a reasonable challenge to the child’s current level of function 🖤the activity is engaging and motivating for the child 🖤the activity can be mastered by the child’s effort. Reference & Image via: Occupational Therapy for Children sixth edition by Case-Smith and O’Brien.

K- is for kinesthesia. The conscious awareness of joint position and body movement in space.

L- is for leisure. Activities that are spontaneous or organized and provide enjoyment or entertainment. As occupational therapists it is important we help our patients identify their leisure activities in order to live a well-balanced life.

M- is for motor planning. Occupational therapists target skills such as motor planning in order to increase a person’s functional independence. Motor planning is the ability to conceive of, organize, sequence, and carry out an unfamiliar and complex body movement in a coordinated manner.

N- is for norm-referenced. Occupational therapists use norm-referenced tests in order to determine an individual’s current level of function. Results may be useful when establishing therapeutic goals to be targeted during therapy.

O- is for occupational therapist. Shout out to all OTs out there who pour their hearts into each therapy session and provide love, support, and encouragement to their patients 🖤

P- is for pretend play. Play is the main occupation of children. Children must be allowed the opportunity to engage in different types of play, as through play they will learn important life skills🖤

Q- is for quantitative & qualitative research. Staying up to the date on the latest research is imperative for OTs in order to provide evidence-based practice. OTs who also conduct research help establish the efficacy of OT interventions, therefore moving the profession forward. Quantitative and qualitative refer to two different research methodologies that are often used 🖤

R- is for rest. The occupational therapy profession is a wonderful profession but, it comes with its own challenges. Often OTs work with patient/clients who are living with significant physical and cognitive impairments. OTs also collaborate closely with families in order to educate them on how to improve the care and independence of their loved ones. This is always a challenging task as there is a strong emotional component that comes into play. 🖤

S- is for social media. With the rise of social media, more and more OTs are choosing to share a behind the scenes look at their life as a therapist. Social media has become a great tool to build community, share resources, and advocate for the occupational therapy profession 🖤

T- is for tactile defensiveness. Tactile defensiveness is an overreaction to standard touch sensations. Individuals with tactile defensiveness are often irritated by different textures such as sand, clothing, wet/sticky substances, different foods, and even brushing of the hair and teeth. OTs can work with those living with tactile defensiveness in order to assist in increasing the tolerance to these irritants or by developing coping strategies for daily life🖤

U- is for university. I will always look back at my time in occupational therapy school very fondly. It was a time filled with excitement, hope, and challenges that helped shape who I am today. The friendships built with my peers are lifelong, and the inspiration received from my professors will always lead my career as an OT. I know you OT students out there are probably stressed and looking forward to the future but, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy this time. It is truly special🖤

V: is for visual-motor integration. Visual-motor integration is a skill that allows us to use our hands and eyes together efficiently in order to perform daily activities. OTs often use the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration (Beery VMI) in order to test for visual-motor deficits. This test can be used with individuals from 2 to 100 years of age. 🖤

W- is for writing. OTs are widely known to target handwriting. Many referrals for children to receive occupational therapy are due to decreased handwriting skills. However, OTs need to be careful not to become handwriting tutors. Anyone can practice handwriting with a child. As an OT it is important to assess each child to identify and treat the underlying factors leading to handwriting difficulties 🖤

X- is for OT Re(x). Who reminds us to always be unstoppable. 📷via: Jim Coleman Ltd.

Y- is for yoga ball. A handy tool to target skills such as sitting balance, core-strength, weight-bearing, and even self regulation🖤

Z- is for zippers. OTs teach individuals how to manipulate clothing fasteners in order to increase their independence and ability to perform self-care tasks. Something that looks as simple as zipping up a jacket requires many different skills that can be targeted through occupational therapy interventions 🖤

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