Despite the formal definition, I like to explain OT as a profession that assists people to live the best quality of life despite any physical or mental shortcomings.
This summer, I am volunteering at SPOTS
(Special Programs in Occupational Therapy Services). I work with four occupational therapists to treat, or in my case
to observe, children who find handwriting a very difficult task to complete. The children in our camp are about five to seven years old. Most of them are about to enter the first grade in the fall. Yet, they have a difficult time focusing on the activity, listening to directions, and controlling their bodies.
At Boston College, I am a special education minor. I have taken classes that focus on working with special needs students. I had so much passion learning about the different kinds of strategies, but to actually be with children who express these very needs, I froze.
The therapists were picking up on each child’s strengths and shortcomings. But to me, they looked and acted like any other five-to-seven year old would. I felt behind and lost. Over the second week, I better understood all the parts that work together for this one child. There are parents, babysitters, pediatricians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, etc. all working together to better the life of this one child. That boggles my mind while warming my heart. I also slowly picked up on what the other therapists were picking up on.
But most importantly, I learned that the first step a therapist must do is to gain the trust of the child. And there is no better way to get that trust than just playing with them. Even if it means being silly or chasing them around the playground, I learned the importance of play.
By Joyce Yoo, BC Class of 2017