Celebrating Occupational Therapy MonthDate Posted: Friday, October 28, 2016
Innovative strategies lead to everyday successes!
Working with a young boy and his family as they get ready for the transition to school by developing new strategies so that he can participate in lunch time and recess independently; Consulting with a new vendor on wheelchair accessible vans; Working with an 18-month-old on strategies to help him eat nutritious, solid foods on his own and supporting his parents so they can continue his progress at home; Visiting schools and working with groups of students to ensure they have the strategies they need to learn successfully in their classrooms; Liaising and consulting with contractors to ensure renovations and/or new equipment installations in homes and in schools are the most functional and accommodate all users.
This sounds like a pretty busy work schedule doesn’t it? These are just some of the responsibilities that Jodi Fischer, Senior Occupational Therapist, John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC), and her colleagues tackle on a regular basis.
October is Occupational Therapy (OT) Month and we’re recognizing the important work that JMCC OTs do every day. At JMCC, OTs work with kids of all abilities in centre, in school and in their homes to ensure they have the best strategies to achieve their full potential.
“I became an OT because I wanted a professional, hands-on job where I could truly help people and that is exactly what I do,” says Fischer. “On a daily basis, I’m teaching kids and supporting their families to build the capacity for change.” Sometimes this change is seen more quickly, like when she assists in having a ramp or lift installed in a home and she sees, almost immediately after installation, how much easier it becomes for a child to get around.
And sometimes it is more gradual. Eighteen month old Cohen was having difficulty eating solid foods. At their visits, Fischer would practice mealtime with Cohen and his mom, helping them to develop new strategies to try at home. After several visits with Fischer and plenty of practice using new feeding strategies at home, his progress is a great example of gradual but also life changing success.
“He is our superstar today,” says Fischer as Cohen sits in his high chair feeding himself cut up grapes with his mom watching proudly. Sure, occasionally one or two grapes slip out of his grasp, but this is a huge change from the little boy who just a few months ago would only eat purees. With more practice and new strategies, this progress will continue.
In order to support kids as they complete their necessary tasks, OTs use innovative strategies and approaches to adapt each skill to each child’s individual ability. Through practice with their OT, family support and practice in their home or at school, progress and change happens and these kids achieve their individual successes.
Fischer loves being an OT because she is truly making a change in the lives of the children and families she supports. “I love being there to celebrate their successes!” says Fischer.
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