April is Occupational Therapy Month! What profession needs an entire month for celebration? Occupational Therapy! The longer I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT) the more I realize and comprehend just how versatile, expansive, innovative and vast our line of work is. When the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) first came out with the slogan “skills for the job of living” I thought the description was too broad. It’s not, it’s perfect! I incorporate it when I describe OT to others. When I say “I’m your OT, we’re going to work on everything you need to do during the day…from getting out of bed, taking a shower to flipping pancakes…if it’s party of your lifestyle then OT will help you work on it.” I know just how important the job of living is to each and every person we encounter.
Occupational Therapists work in every field imaginable and the need for OTs continues to expand. From helping a machinist get back to his job through work rehabilitation, an OT working with a NICU baby to prepare oral skills and sensations to breastfeed with his Mom, a school based therapist helping a child with Autism participate in regular education classes with his friends, an OT working in an assisted living setting to design showers for safe bathing, a mental health based practitioner working on someone with Major Depressive disorder find joy in gardening, an OT professor teaching the next generation of therapists, to an outpatient therapist building splits for a blogger with carpal tunnel to an OT helping a geriatric patient transition into a BRODA chair for safe mobility and socialization in long term care. The list goes on and on…and on…and on!!
I fully believe that OT is the most versatile and rewarding career out there. April is OT Month and we should celebrate! With all of the settings OTs work in it’s important for each and every therapist to promote both OT month and our profession to those around them. Here are some great ways to celebrate!
- Make Posters – OT’s tend to be crafty and relish in the idea of breaking out poster paint and glue! Hang posters up at work to spread the OT love.
- Throw a party – Host an office party in the break room at work for colleagues, a social gathering for residents at your facility, or a get together at your home or a local restaurant.
- Social Media – Show your celebration on Instagram, post a status update on Facebook or go all out and make a music video on Youtube! Hashtag #OTMonth
- Group Text or E-mail – Short on time? Send out a quick text or e-mail to all of your contacts wishing them a happy OT month and include a little blurb about our profession.
- Organize an OT Lunch – Ever go to AOTA conference? A group of OT’s produces an amazing energy that’s nearly palpable! Have a smaller scale event by inviting local OTs to a lunch/brunch/dinner to share in professional magic.
- OT University – Contact your local OT College or University and ask how you can get involved for OT month!
- Thank You Cards – Send out thank-you cards to doctors, nurses, equipment companies and others who refer clients to you.
- OT Month client activities – Get your clients involved. There’s nothing like client-centered purposeful activity to celebrate the month. Blow up balloons, hang streamers etc. and work on goals while incorporating this celebration.
- Treat Yourself -Treat Yo Self! Do you watch Parks and Recreation? If you do then I’m sure this phrase is familiar to you! If not, then take the opportunity to start a tradition. Get that special latte, purse you’ve been eying or take a relaxing day to yourself and reflect on your career as an OT. Even better…bring one for a friend too.
- Professional Organization Involvement – Check out the AOTA month page, join our profession’s organization and get involved. Join in with your state’s OT organization, get a snazzy t-shirt, donate funds for legislative work and give our organizations a big thumb’s up for promoting us all year round!
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