**Blog post by BACA Occupational Therapist, Angela Seal, MOT, OTR
Many people often ask me what an Occupational Therapist does and my general answer is…ANYTHING! The definition of an Occupational Therapist from the AOTA.org is someone who helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). There are more occupations in one’s life than their actual place of employment. Think about the things you do every day to get through it. My popular example is getting out of bed…think about it. Your’re asleep and your alarm goes off…well first of all, you would have had to hear or somehow understand that the alarm is alarming, then you have to physically find the alarm clock (through something called proprioception and kinesthesia, especially if you are in the dark), then you have to have enough strength in your hand and arm to grab the alarm clock and throw it against the wall (or turn it off sensibly). From there, you muster enough strength to roll over and sit yourself up on the side of the bed (we won’t review the muscles you are using, the balance or the coordination this requires). So, you are starting to get the idea, there is more to turning off an alarm clock and getting out of bed than just turning off your alarm clock and getting out of bed.
Let’s take a look at the kiddos I work with everyday…what are their occupations? Well for our younger kiddos, it looks like this…help with dressing, eat, play, snuggle, play, play, eat, play, sleep, play, snuggle, play, eat, snuggle, help with dressing, sleep (may include other things and not necessarily in this order). For our older kiddos, replace play with various activities, such as academics, leisure activities, sports, self-care, etc. What happens though when a kiddo doesn’t have the baseline skills to complete these tasks adequately. That’s where I come in. At BACA, I mainly focus on strengthening, motor coordination, visual-motor integration and adaptations to the environment, if necessary. For example, does a kiddo have enough strength in their hand to hold a pencil, the coordination to play tag with their friend or motor planning to figure out how to get dressed?
Before BACA, I worked at a few other places. I have to say though, this has been my favorite place of employment. Why? Because BACA is a team approach that addresses the whole child. When recommendations are made, they are not just focused on by me one hour a week during my session. The team I work with takes the recommendations and focuses on them every day the child is present! Then, I get to see progress quickly made with a kiddo which is so rewarding. We get thoroughly excited when a kiddo has learned a step…A STEP….in a new skill….and don’t ask what kind of partying goes on when a kiddo learns a whole new skill. There is excitement in BACA and a true love for our kiddos. Welcome to a glimpse of my OT Realm!