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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Am An Occupational Therapist

Well, a pediatric school based occupational therapist that is.

When I first started blogging I was convinced that I should keep my "professional" life and my "blog" life separate, mainly for privacy. The truth is, very few people at my work know about my blog, and honestly.. that's how I'd like to keep it.  =P
Then I wrote this post and this post and began receiving a lot of emails from people asking me about my job and my educational background.

So I started thinking,
I really love being an occupational therapist (OT),
Work is, obviously, a huge part of my life..
My blog is a huge part of my life.. 
I guess I can merge the blog world and my work world a teensy bit to help spread the word about OT

I Give You..
A Little Bit About Me, and OT.
1) First things first, What the heck is occupational therapy?
- Let's just get this out there first. No, I don't help people find jobs. 
- Basically, occupational therapists help people participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. 
Ok, what the heck does that mean? Well, I work in a school for kids who have very severe disabilities. During therapy sessions I do anything from teaching a child how to color, play Twister, ride a bike, play Wii bowling, or use colored shaving cream as finger paints. Basically, I help our students learn how do fun kid stuff (that's where the everyday activities part comes in), all while working on their motor skills and sensory needs. 
(Soooo I play a lot, it's a good time)
That is not to say that I don't spend a lot of time writing reports, consulting with teachers, getting assaulted by kids (cough), and meeting with parents..... because I do =P

2) Do All Occupational Therapists Work In Schools?
- No way, I have friends who work in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, physical/occupational therapy clinics, and pediatric sensory clinics (remember going to Discovery Zone when you were kid? Ya, that's basically what those private clinics are like)

3) Where Did You Go To School? Do You Have A Masters Degree?
- I went to UCLA (yay Bruins!) for my undergraduate degree, and majored in psychology and minored in education. I then went to USC (boo Trojans..once a bruin always a bruin) and earned my masters degree in occupational therapy. Yes, I did take a lot of science-y classes, and they were tough but really worth it.

4) I'm Interested in OT, But I'm Not Sure...
- My advice? Go observe OTs in various settings (school, clinics, hospitals) and try to picture whether or not you could see yourself doing occupational therapy in the future. Then read some OT books like The Out Of Sync Child (by the way if you are a parent of a child with sensory needs this is a MUST READ!) and see if you're interested in the material and if you feel inspired
I first found occupational therapy while working at a preschool with a little boy who has autism. He would go see an OT twice a week. At first, I was so impressed with how much fun had at OT, and then I was amazed by his progress. Told you, OT is cool

5) But Will I Be Able To Find A Job
- Yes, Yes, andddd Yes
There is a huge need for occupational therapists right now. The truth is, very few people know about occupational therapy, and as a result very few people choose OT as a profession. There are lots and lots of jobs, and yes... they pay quite well =P

Circa 2009

So there ya go,
now you know a lot about what I do.

Have a happy day 


Janelle said...

I also try to keep my professional life separate, but this was a fun post to read! OT sounds like it can be such a rewarding profession. Thanks for sharing with your readers!

Monica's Notebook said...

I'm kind of forced to keep my professional life and blog like separate since I'm going into teaching :/ They are STRIICCTTTT! Being an OT sounds really awesome, sometimes I wish I would have done something else, I love kids but idk if I really want to be a classroom teacher. Maybe one day I'll go back to school for something else! You kinda just inspired me! haha

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! So happy for your big success! All the best!

christin said...

You make me feel evil. Because what I do LITERALLY helps no one. LITERALLY. And to that, I can only laugh and hope that you help enough people to balance out my ruining their lives.

Why didn't I pick something different???

Kara said...

I loved reading about this Tammy! I have a friend studying to be an OT and she loves it! So happy that you truly enjoy your job. :)

Jussie De Guida said...

Being an OT is such a wonderful job!! This is great I love hearing this. I was thinking about going to OT grad school, this is actually very helpful. It takes special people to do this job!

Samantha said...

Thanks for sharing, we need more ppl like you! :)

Ash said...

aw im so glad you shared this tammy! your attitude is perfect for this line of work (: thanks for sharing all this info!

Daisy said...

Thanks for sharing! I too have not really heard of this position. It makes me want to do this :)

Danie at Pasadya said...

Very cool that you do this! What's even better is that you seem to love it! Thanks for sharing. :)

diary of this girl - megan said...

what an amazing job! it sounds hard, but very exciting and worthwhile! thank you for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a lot of fun while making a huge difference :)

Ashley said...

I love your passion for OT! And I love even more that I share a smiliar passion for PT! It feels great to know you are making an impact on one persons life! :)

Devon @ TheMermaidChronicles said...

Thanks for sharing this Tammy! Your job and very important and very inspiring!

Olivia.Dee said...

i'm glad you shared this. You are a great inspiration and the greatest help for everyone around you. :]

Ashley Slater said...

!!!!! my husband is a DPT! so cool! I bet you and he could complain about grad school and stuff :0


Emily said...

I love that you posted about this!

I hired a USC OT-grad school as a tutor {when I was working for a test prep company.} She was awesome and taught me a lot about OT. Because I clearly thought she helped people get jobs...I know, I suck. I wish I could remember her name because you guys may have been in school around the same time....but alas, my memory fails me.

Jessica L. said...

Yay! Sounds like something I would be interested in. I'm majoring in psychology as well. I hope to change careers when I get out, or at least would like to try.

Jessica L. said...

Yay! Sounds like something I would be interested in. I'm majoring in psychology as well. I hope to change careers when I get out, or at least would like to try.

Kristina Gulino said...

Wow that's so interesting! Very neat to learn this about you. And also REALLY refreshing to hear about a blogger who is passionate for working in a non-creative field! (Cause really - if the entire world of women were photographers and stylists - we would get nowhere) :] I'm work in an office by day, so I can totally relate. And though it's kinda hard to have two separate identities, it's really nice to have something to reply on! Good for you, sister!

Nook & Sea

pinkpeonie said...

It's because of you really, that pushed me to look into pursuing OT at the graduate level. Thanks so much for the inspiration, recommendations, and for answering all of my questions!!!

Bess said...

I am a mother of a son with autism I really like your info I am currently in nursing school with a minor in Psych I amy in the future move into OT but I want to be a NICU nurse I just opent a n online store called autisticintentions.com and I was wondering if you could take time to look at it and give me some pointers for parents who will be using the therapy equipment in the home with the children. I have some ideas to post but having a therapist help me would be great.
Thanks again for the great info
Happy Mom

Cheryl said...

ever since you told me you loved it I have been thinking about pursuing it! :)

Claudia said...

I also went to UCLA and am SO OVER USC fans (note, fans, not alums) talking crap to me about football... seriously? I don't care I'm proud of my academic achievements.

Unfortunately I can't say that I love what I do for a living (yet)but I'm so glad that you do.

Bethany said...

I had no idea you went to UCLA! I'm a Bruin too :) I have a friend studying to be an occupational therapist, and I sent her this post. There really is nothing like finding a career that you love, and it sounds like you are doing amazing things!

Courtney Pollock said...

Awwww Tamms! I love you and your OT passion! Soon I will be studying to be an OT and that is thanks to you! Thanks again xoxo


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