If you have ever read my writings, sat in my classrooms, worked alongside me or just hung out with me for any time at all, you probably know that I am in love with occupational therapy. My husband teases me that “OT stands for Only Topic,” a line that he picked up from a friend whose wife is also an OT evangelist. So, for me, OT month offers another happy reason to pause and count the ways that I love this unique and powerful profession, starting with our beautiful roots.
I love that OT was created with thought and intention by an eclectic group of professionals who saw first-hand the power of meaningful activity as they worked with patients and individuals with severe social and economic disadvantages. OT was imagined, discussed and deliberately outlined by this group of thinkers and doers that included a social welfare reformer, a teacher, a psychiatrist, a physician, a nurse, and two architects, one of whom had personally experienced chronic illness, and the impact of meaningful occupation on healing. While all of the many health and helping professions have evolved from diverse roots, OT alone was proactively planned and named, including curricula for training people to practice it. Read more here in the inspiring Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecture by Kathleen Barker Schwartz: https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/Publications/AJOT/Slagle/2009-Slagle.PDF
OT continues to embody the knowledge and effort of compassionate people with a diversity of talents and interests, and dedication to these basic truths about human needs and rights:
That occupation is as necessary to life as food and drink
That every human being should have both physical and mental occupation
That all should have occupations which they enjoy.
~ Dr. Willliam Rush Dunton, Jr., “Credo for Occupational Therapists”(1919)
This central purpose is what makes us, as a profession, versatile enough to meet critical human needs in almost any setting. Whenever someone is prevented from fulfilling their occupational drives, an OT can help to restore or achieve improved performance and quality of life. I like to think that I could improve the life of any living thing that needs help to do what it needs or wants to do, given a little time and a few resources. I believe that OTs are this versatile because of our interprofessional heritage and the amazing education that OTs can access before and throughout their careers. We love to grab ideas from a huge array of sources from within and without our professional boundaries, and ranging from formal courses to the people we work alongside, and even popular culture. In this case, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts!
So, that’s my love note to OT for now. What do you love about our profession, and how will you celebrate OT month? What will you do to help other to understand and fully utilize your unique and wonderful profession?
Share your thoughts: editor@TodayinOT.com