So last week was the end of an era! It was my last week as a full-time, stay at home mum. As of next week I will be a full-time mother/University student! This week...well I'm on holiday! Not literally you understand but Emily has started nursery a week early, to allow me time to collect my thoughts and organise this big change in our lives.
As of next Monday I will be enrolled as a full-time student O.T which stands for...wait for it...Occupational Therapist.......(pause)
No, I know you still don't know what I am talking about do you?! (sigh)
Having a mother as an O.T has meant I have spent the last 31 years (well okay maybe only 25 of those) trying to explain what exactly an O.T is and what it is that they do! On the rare occasion these two words are met with vague recognition and not a glazed expression I am overjoyed at the prospect that maybe the person I am dealing with might possibly know what an Occupational Therapist is! And upon meeting someone within the health care profession that does know what an O.T is I am practically nauseous with excitement! Sad I know but I lead a rather un-rock n roll lifestyle these days so it doesn't take much to excite me!
So okay for all you people out there that do not know what it is an Occupational Therapist does the COT (College of Occupational Therapy) describes it as follows:
The purpose of occupational therapy is to enable people to fulfil, or to work towards fulfilling, their potential as occupational beings. Occupational therapists promote function, quality of life and the realisation of potential in people who are experiencing occupational deprivation, imbalance or alienation. They believe that activity can be an effective medium for remediating dysfunction, facilitating adaptation and recreating identity."
Basically think of anything that you do on a daily basis, bathing, dressing, walking down the stairs, leaving the house, going to work...anything at all. Now imagine for whatever reason you couldn't perform that task anymore. For example you had an accident, developed a mental illness, were brain damaged, had a stroke, were diagnosed with a debilitating disease or maybe you were born with a disability that means you were never able to perform that task without assistance in the first place. Well that is what O.T's are for and no not to do it for you but to provide you with the support you need to either help you perform that task again or adapt your life around the fact that you cannot do that task alone and unaided anymore. They provide people with the necessary tools, whether that is re-teaching tasks, breaking them down into manageable steps, teaching people how to cope with a change in environment and how that change may effect their daily occupations or providing equipment or adaptations to a person's property to enable them to live more independently and more comfortably. So that is a very basic explanation of what an O.T is and what they do but if you remember that it will take me 3 years to qualify on a course that is a mixture of Anatomy & Physiology, Psychology and Sociology. Then you start to get an idea of the variety and scope of the job.
So I don't expect anyone I know to ever ask me again what exactly it is an Occupational Therapist does...is that understood?! Ha ha....