Who is ready for round two? Don’t mind if I do!

For starters, THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to give feedback about my initial post. I appreciate your encouragement and support!  It highly motivates me to push forward with this creative quest.

My inspiration during this adventure comes from all of you and I hope to continue using this platform to inspire, support and advocate for all of my fellow OTs, rehab therapists, health care professionals, and ANYONE who could benefit from our services.  

Although my overloaded brain is full of MANY very specific topics that I hope to explore during future blog posts, today I would like to carry on with the #valueofOT theme by viewing personal client testimonials pertaining to particular areas of practice.

As we know, occupational therapy is valuable to individuals and populations across the lifespan, and additional specialization within the OT scope of practice can increase therapeutic value and enhance outcomes pertaining to a client’s specific condition.

Below are a few client testimonials in which functional outcomes are addressed pertaining to differing areas of practice {utilize the colored fonts with attached links to read the full content on AOTA’s website}.

  • “Thanks to an occupational therapist, I was able to type this, as well as articles I write as a newspaper reporter, with both hands…..Unable to move my fingers, I couldn’t grab a bar of soap or clutch a washcloth. A numb, tingly feeling prevented me from touching my other arm without pain. I searched for ways to dress and undress so clothing would not press against me…..Suspecting reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, which I knew nothing about, (my OT) in a gentle and good-humored way, worked with me 2 to 3 hours a week to restore movement in my hand and wrist. I have returned to normal typing speed and can do everything again with my left hand, including writing and eating.” – Author Anonymous, Regaining Hand Function After Injury 
  • “(The client) would never grab anything with his right hand, so (the occupational therapist) suggested using constraint-induced movement therapy, which meant restricting his left hand, forcing him to use his right hand…..(the client’s) right hand is still affected, but he can now grab a ball with both hands, and hold a cup – things that other people would think is not that big a deal, but for us it’s absolutely massive.” – Molly V. Strzelecki is the senior editor for OT Practice, Into the Swing of Things

Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession enabling people to live life to the fullest by holistically considering what a person wants and needs to accomplish during his or her day-to-day routine. 

I have also found while explaining what I do, defining occupational therapy can be enhanced through real-life success stories. Piggy-backing off of a general OT definition with specific examples can paint a truer picture of the value of OT {all the while maintaining HIPAA standards, of course}. 

What personal success stories could YOU briefly share with our captive and growing audience?  Our community would love to hear from you. Share below – GO!

  • “During the course of therapy, (the OT) accentuates stretching techniques. He also incorporates activities into the therapy sessions. For example, he shows me the best way to put on a shirt, sweater, and jacket to minimize the pain attached to these activities. This also applies to putting on a seatbelt. During the exercise portion of therapy, I place Velcro objects on a board as high as I can reach. (The occupational therapist) also encourages me to place objects on shelves (as high as I can reach) at home as a follow up. Since the shoulder doesn’t get as much exercise as the arm and hand, I am encouraged to keep my upper arm in motion as much as possible. (My OT) recommended that I wash and vacuum my car instead of taking it into a car wash. Although due to laziness I am tempted to cheat and take the easy way out, I have been cleaning my car myself and saving money, while helping my shoulder by keeping it moving. The drought in Brooklyn, New York, and the buildup of pollen on the car windows allow me to engage in this activity quite often. Regarding basketball, at the therapy center I use a combination exercise ball and rebounder, whereby the ball weight is gradually increased and the rebounder is raised accordingly as my range of motion and strength have increased. The area becomes a makeshift basketball court and has served its purpose well. In addition, I purchased a hoop and basketball for my apartment as a follow up activity. Due to (the OTs) approach, I am now able to play on a regular basketball court with almost no limitations.” –  Alan, Taber, Resuming Everyday Activities After a Shoulder Injury 
  • At the age of 24, my so called ‘normal’ life became anything but normal. I was stripped of my livelihood, career, dignity, pride, and most importantly, independence! I struggled day in and day out with the loss of everyday capabilities we all take for granted, such as walking, writing my own name, doing my hair and make-up, brushing my teeth, and having the function to go to the bathroom on my own…..(with the help of my OT).  At first I was using adaptive equipment to write my name, brush my teeth, do my hair and make-up, and type on my computer, but today I use very little equipment. I type with my pinkie finger’s knuckle and I apply my make-up like every woman does (I do use my mouth a lot to hold tubes and covers) flawlessly, I might add! I rocked rehab and am rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ my life today. All because of the support from someone who truly cared and understood. My fears were calmed, my questions answered, and the unknown, hidden behind my brave face, had disappeared.” – Jenny Addis, Blindside to the Flipside

Due to the holistic nature of occupational therapy, OTs are equipped to address a diverse number of diagnoses while adapting and personalizing treatment techniques to improve outcomes. 

  • “(An occupational therapist) instilled confidence in me that I didn’t know I could have; my confidence was built by increasing my knowledge. Their program taught me what I needed to function well. The therapy program makes people believe and understand things, so that the impossible is very possible. I came in thinking I couldn’t do this, but (my OT and healthy habits) gave me the confidence that I could do this. It was not just “do this” because it will work, but their program taught me why things worked and how to make changes to my plan while staying focused on my goals. The support and encouragement that I could do this helped me modify my thinking and habits. I could do it…I have done it! I have learned the tools that I will take with me for life; basic tools that I can use at any point in my life…..Here I am 6 months later; my pain and swelling have completely vanished. I can now play multiple tennis matches and keep up my energy levels. I have lost 50 pounds and I am even able to run—on my absolute best days up to 5 miles. But the best news is that, after 8 years, I am completely off of high blood pressure medication.” –  Nelda Turner, Losing Weight Through a Holistic Approach

The goal of OT is to meet the client where they are regarding their mental health, physical capabilities, and emotional/social needs to help clients achieve their goals and improve quality of life.  Often this will include creating adaptations, compensatory techniques, and environmental modifications to maximize one’s potential and participation. 

Additionally, occupational therapy is an incredibly effective therapy on its own. However, is also a vital part of a multi-disciplinary team bringing unique perspectives and advocacy to the table, where science and creativity collide. 

  • “Since my aortic aneurysm in 2003, I have had repeated vascular problems. This necessitated amputating my left leg in June 2011 and my right leg in January 2012. After both operations I was a patient at (my rehab facility) and received excellent care from the occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs). They taught me (and my wife) how to do transfers with the Hoyer lift. They also worked on my balance and strength so I could do the transfers. How to balance without legs takes a lot of energy and practice. They obtained a motorized wheelchair and showed me how to use it safely. Driving a powered wheel chair can be challenge (look out for walls)…..PT concentrates on building strength so you can handle the new demands on your body. PT thinks of ways to expend minimum amounts of energy. The OT concentrates on getting you adapted to your new problems and how to solve them so you can return to as much of your former life as possible. I thought OT was to help with your assembly line work. But my OT is incredibly inventive in using and adapting items in our house so jobs are doable for me.” – Jaydee Miller, Learning to Live with Amputations 

To conclude, I will leave y’all with AOTA’s fabulous and informative video highlighting a few practice areas of OT in action. This video is a MUST WATCH if you have not already and can be used/shared with clients and caregivers to demonstrate OT intervention strategies.

AOTA’s video clarifies, substantiates and promotes #thevalueofOT to the general public, health care professionals on our multi-disciplinary team, AND even to physicians who serve as referral sources to the plethora of valuable services OTs provide. 

Thank you, AOTA, for this video and hope to see more content like this in the future! 

Occupational therapy needs to take a bit more time to brag for what we do, unite the OT community, and continue sparking the flame of passion for future growth.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, in order for AOTA to continue leading occupational therapy practitioners down the path of success and fulfillment, it is up to all OTs to annually join your national {and state, for that matter} associations.  This is a VITAL component for continued growth and advancement.  

All OTs: Use this link and these words to JOIN/RENEW your AOTA membership.  

Many of us do not utilize our AOTA membership to its full potential – myself included. My plan is to create a future post highlighting some useful and helpful links from the AOTA website to incorporate into your daily practice and use in your community. Let’s not re-create the wheel but better utilize and support associations currently committed to the longevity and relevance of occupational therapy. 

Sneak Peak for future posts: the addition of “Therapy Value Spot” where I will share my favorite sources for continued growth, equipment & garment ideas, and ideally much more content/suggestions that are helping pave my way.

As a final tidbit, I learned from a mentor of mine that people tend to take your advice and become part of your community NOT because you are already successful, but rather a few small steps ahead of them.

In short: We are in this together! Let us learn from each other and thrive.

That’s all for this week! As as always, please leave any positive vibes or feedback below.

Until next time, Thrive Alive.


{Ideas stated are solely my own and do not reflect the opinion of outside influences.}

American Occupational Therapy Association. 2017. https://www.aota.org/clientstories