Sunday, August 7, 2011

Explaining Occupational Therapy

What is occupational therapy? It is a question I have gotten a hundred times already, and a question I am sure to get hundreds more times. Explaining occupational therapy is probably one of the most frustrating parts of being an occupational therapist. One wants to explain its breadth, but also some specifics and that is not easy to do in an elevator speech. It is also important to explain occupational therapy because it is unknown properly by most and therefore in my opinion often underutilized.

Now taking all of this under consideration what do I actually say. Currently (with my limited knowledge of occupational therapy), my elevator goes something along the lines of:

"Occupational therapy is similar to physical therapy, but instead of working on range of motion we focus on daily living skills. Sometimes we will help someone relearn how to eat after a traumatic event or we can help people living with ADHD work on different techniques to focus."

In all fairness, it is a little dolled up for the internet. I am usually a little less formal. There are still issues to this explanation. First, I feel like I am degrading physical therapy by suggesting that they only focus on range of motion. I know they do a lot more, but I am making generalizations. I also feel like I am missing the community and environmental aspects of occupational therapy. We try to improve the functionality of the environment and community so that everyone can use it to their best potential. However, this is an elevator speech and not a lecture, and often this little blurb will open up more discussion. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. How do you explain occupational therapy?

Now that I am here in the land of school I am so excited to get started. I went on an outing with a few of the girls in my class. It was nice to get to meet some people beforehand. I got some gossip about the program, such as we have a semi-formal. Who would of thought? It was nice to see the variety of people that came, but there was definitely a lot of similarity between us. It was interesting to hear different people's concerns. Some are already planning Fieldwork II in their head, but that seems so far off to me. One more week and then I will meet everybody. A little disjointed, but hopefully this blog will surely but slowly improve my writing skills.

1 comment:

  1. I think that is an awesome start!! I am an OT myself and I always find that frustrating as well. I always say my job is help someone meet their occupation in life. I always give an example...A child's occupation is to attend in school, able to complete their daily living skills independently.
    By the way love your blog. So glad that you are spreading our profession! Best of luck to you in the upcoming school year! You will do awesome!