For four great weeks, I led the occupational therapy dream! I was given the opportunity to rotate through several different settings, providing occupational therapy services and stumbling through Spanish. Here are highlights:
A couple mornings a week I went with a health clinic team to visit individuals with disabilities in the mountain-side communities. Seeing their living conditions and experiencing the adversity they deal with was a humbling, to say the least. The house pictured is where a young man of 26 years lives with his mom. He was the victim of a gun shot wound, years ago. Expanding my skill-set, I made him custom wrist supports to increase the function in his hands. This was a new experience for me as the splints were made out of plaster material. I must admit, I was proud of the product (see picture). While he was unsure of their benefits, we agreed that he’d give them a try for a while.
I also helped a new occupational therapist at a community program for kids who are deaf. A primary role at the center was speech therapy; however, many kids who are deaf or hard of hearing need assistance in regulating their sensations (which is where OT comes in). Since she was a new therapist, I provided more consultative services, making cheat sheets about treatment ideas for kids displaying different characteristics. See picture of the new therapist treating an 8 month old.
Another program took place once a week. A bus load of older adults (from the mountain-side communities) have a day of free services at the organization. Services I saw included: medical attention (including free meds), dental care, hair cuts, free food!, social activities (such as Bingo), respiratory therapy, physical therapy, and, while I was there, OT! I must admit, I loved helping with Bingo, but I was able to provide some one-on-one advice too. My highlight was working with wound care. A man (see photo) had a lower-leg burn that has been healing for 13 years. I’ve seen therapists complete wound care, but it was my first experience leading such an effort.
Alright, I’m writing too much. I also worked in two schools. Some OT was provided in groups and some individually.
In all, it was an incredible month for me.
I want to return.