April is Occupational Therapy Month!

By AASLApril 7, 2017

Jennifer Schwarzschild, M.S., OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

“Occupational therapy (OT) is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest,” (AOTA, 2017).

“Living Life To Its Fullest,” is our profession’s guiding mantra, the standard to which we set our practice. This aspirational goal resonates not only among therapists and clients, but within all of us as human beings. Don’t we all strive to be the best versions of ourselves, to achieve the most success possible, to fulfill our utmost potential? Imagine if there was something standing in the way of reaching that goal, a “limitation.”  A desire to move your body, so forceful that you simply cannot sit down to pay attention in class, a weakness in your hands that makes it nearly impossible to hold a pencil, a miscommunication between your brain and body that makes learning to ride a bike feel like a mission to mars.

OTs combine our science-driven, educational backgrounds with holistic, client-centered approaches to help children develop skills that turn these “limitations” into successes; enabling our clients to achieve the seemingly unachievable, and do so while having fun! Whether a child is struggling with strength and coordination deficits, fine motor difficulties, visual motor delays, self-care delays, sensory processing difficulties, and/or social difficulties, it is our special job as OTs to provide children and families the tools they need to reach the goals that are important to them, to participate in the daily activities that are meaningful to them, and to function at their highest level possible.

“Living life to the fullest,” means something different to every individual. For some of my kids, it means feeding themselves independently at mealtime, earning their first A+ on a written assignment at school, or following directions and coordinating movements to participate successfully in a dance class with peers. For me, “living life to the fullest,” means getting to be a part of these children’s expeditions to success. Bearing witness to the beaming smile that lights up the room the first time a child buttons his own shirt, the pride a child wears on her face as she writes her name independently for the first time, the laughs and hugs that succeed all of the “hard work.”

I am grateful to be part of the occupational therapy profession, a career that has enabled me to make a lasting difference in the lives of my clients and families. I am thankful to work in a clinic where I feel genuinely rewarded and fulfilled by the daily work that we do. I wake up excited to go to work each and every day; to employ my creativity, my energy, and my clinical skills; to challenge myself and challenge my clients to be the best, and by helping them live life to the fullest, I in turn am living mine. What greater job could a person have?

Happy OT Month!!

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