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Written by: MaryLynn Allen, OTA student, KU Jacksonville

Occupational Therapy (OT) began in a psychology setting with the idea of “moral treatment,” meaning everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in a humane way, regardless of any illness or ailment they may present with. Because of this background, Occupational Therapy is set apart from the rest of medical professions by the way in which we handle intervention for our patients. We are entirely client-centered and embody a belief that, through a holistic approach, we can change the lives of our patients so they may live the most functional life possible.

Through the use of OT, our clients, their families, and we as practitioners, are rewarded in numerous ways. Our clients are motivated to become the best possible version of themselves because, as professionals in this field, we strive to be the best as well. Our creativity flows freely and by taking a true client-centered approach we tailor interventions to each individual based upon what is important to them. Originality is the spotlight of our profession. OT allows for exponential growth and never-ending learning both within the field professionally and outside of the field personally. Helping to make a positive difference in the life of someone is perhaps one of the most fulfilling and meaningful journeys to embark on.  It is one of the main reasons those of us in this field chose this path, and it is directly reflected in the lives of our clients because it allows them to feel that what they love matters, because it does. This in turn makes our profession unique and shows how much we care about our clients, their well-being, and their journey to a better self.

In this holistic profession, we as OT professionals see adding life to days as one of the most important elements we bring to the medical community. We are highly passionate, empathic, and diverse individuals. Though OT is not as well-known as other therapies, strides are being made to continue spreading what we do and what we can offer with the community at large. As OT professionals we can work in myriad areas, ranging from infants to geriatrics, mental illness to hyppotherapy, and just about anything in between. We encompass an array of skills that allow us to be fully present and unique with our clients. We are capable of becoming specialized in an area of unique interest, such as low vision or hands, or we can travel throughout a facility and work with many different types of clients.

Through the use of Occupational Therapy we are able to change lives, to make them as functional and happy as possible, and that, in itself, is something worth celebrating this month. Though, in reality, our profession is worth celebrating every day because of the difference we can make for our community and our clients.

STUDENTS: Please email your submissions/questions/comments to the ELSE Student Editor, Kayla Bianchi at: [email protected]