WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST?
I went through four years of undergraduate schooling without ever hearing about occupational therapy. A year after I graduated, my father had a massive stroke. My family was immersed in the therapeutic rehabilitation world and met every type of therapist out there. I was in awe. These therapists made actual miracles happen. I knew this was what I was meant to do with my life. I went back to school and got my Masters degree in occupational therapy.
WHAT TYPE OF SETTING DO YOU CURRENTLY WORK IN?
I work at The WOW Center, which is an adult day training (ADT) center. It is a not-for-profit community center that serves adults ages 21 and up, who are living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
DESCRIBE WHAT A TYPICAL DAY ON THE JOB LOOKS LIKE FOR YOU?
The occupational therapy group within the center has 18 older adults who require more individualized attention in order to meet their aging needs. These individuals participate in group activities throughout the day. We work 1-on-1 with the individuals within the group as needed. Each afternoon, individuals are pulled aside for therapeutic activities specific to that person’s wants and needs. There is always a lot going on and it is always a blast! I also provide private occupational therapy services to other individuals who attend the center before and after ADT hours.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROFESSION?
1. Shadow occupational therapists in different settings.
2. Ask each occupational therapist you meet why they became an OT and what they like most about the field.
3. Take time to volunteer at places that serve individuals living with disabilities.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I see myself continuing to run the occupational therapy program at The WOW Center. I also see myself contributing to research, assessments, screenings, and treatments for the population of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I wish to be a fieldwork educator, as well.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST?
My favorite things about being an occupational therapist are that no 2 days are the same and no 2 individuals that you serve are the same (regardless of similar diagnosis/disability). You learn something new every day and you will constantly be impressed and enchanted by humanity’s ability to overcome obstacles and remain happy.
QUOTE TO LIVE BY?
- Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.