What the heck is an OT???
This is what I told my self before having any knowledge of it...
At first, when I was still writing down the course I would like to enroll in college. My first choice was of course, the ever in-demand "BS Nursing"... yeah, just because of "parents-told-me-to" thing...well, I didn't personally like it. What I really wanted to take in the first place was electronics and communications engineering...or something which has to do with interior designing stuff...but I bummed! Instead, I wrote nursing as a first choice...and....BS Occupational Therapy as my second choice in the most prestigious premier state University of the Philippines. Why? My friend told me it's good... and because my sister needs special care...from an OT that is, so I wanted to help her...hopefully...someday. (Though it was just my second reason at first)
Occupational Therapy is a field ...uhm... let's just define it this way.
These are some unique definitions of OT that I came across in the net:
"A physical therapist will teach you how to walk; an occupational therapist will teach you how to dance"
"How many OT does it talk to light a bulb? None. The occupational therapist will teach the bulb to light itself"
And the ever famous proverb that is most apt to define what an OT does:
"Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day; Teach a man how to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime"
Pretty inspirational stuffs huh? Why am I telling this to you? Well, why don’t you ask yourself first... why are you reading my post anyway? But since you're reading it already... Im not in the position to give you the correct definition of an OT nor am I a professional in this kind of field... oh yes! You heard it right; I enjoy being an OT now!!!!!! Unbelievable? he he...it’s because OT is the most wonderful job there is!!! Let me tell you bout my past experience so you'll understand.=)
On the 6th of April 2005, we were asked to do this observation for an OT clinic as a pre-requisite for a major subject we are going to take in our second year in college that will last for about five days. At first, I was reluctant about it…I thought it would be boring and all but...it was fun! It was rather great!
My first observation was with this little girl…she has ADL (im not sure) and she was all this dizzy all the time as the therapist guides her and teach her how to grip a spoon, put the food on her mouth and chew it…yes, you read it right, step-by-step. I was pretty amazed by how patient these people (the therapists) are, despite the children’s whining, throwing everything their hands got to touch, crying biting, and occasional uncooperativeness…he/she remains patient and loving but firm.
The second one is with this little kudos having an ongoing toddler’s class or something. They said it boosts their socialization skill and participation as a group. But there is this one child that the instant he entered the room…he started crying and crying that he’s unstoppable! So the other kids go on crying too. And when I gazed outside to see the parents peering through the glass door, some of them were crying as they watch their little ones…I was deeply touched. It was so much a burden for the parents to see their child suffering; unaware of the reality they’ve been going about. And during this pre-play session that we got to participate in and even played with the kids…there is this one child that I could never forget. The therapist told us that he (the kido) whenever roams around the mall or somewhere with his parents…he’d go to the prettiest girl on that place and would hold her hands, and he especially like kissing people. And all the while, during the entire session, he would always turn to his back (where I was) and would blow kisses at me. Or he would climb down his armchair and would kiss my cheeks. So sweet. He even calls himself, the “kissing bandit”. And before the therapy session ends, he told me, “go to my house, play with my toys”. Awwww….sweet! little angel.=)
And everyday, during our observations, I’ve witnessed a lot of activities and kinds of therapies the “teachers” employs to these little kids. Mostly concerns the child’s Sensory Integration, Motor Planning and Socialization Skills. Oh, heck! I’ll learn more about that in my second and third year.Ü and I think, now, I’m already ahead with my classmates! Coz I’ve already learned a lot of things about what an OT is through this observation thing…
When you’re handling a child…no matter how smarty-pants you are back in college with all these terms you memorized in your major subjects…it is less likely useful. I mean, I’m not saying that it won’t matter….it will. It’s just that, no matter how much you know about occupational therapy, still, it’s different strokes, for different folks, in this case, when it comes to the patients. Though special children deserve special care, what you are trying to impose upon them is a world like that of normal children. So you must learn how to establish rapport, when to be gentle and when to be strict. You shouldn’t let the child control you that you’ll give in to his demands so he’ll follow you…you have to show him who’s the boss. I’m not saying it’s about building tyranny or whatsoever over the kids, it’s a matter of teaching them and making them realize that not all the time they’d get what they want. They should learn how to wait for their turn, wait for the instructions of their teachers or parents before doing anything, be independent and learn how to listen and pay attention. And this goes to “normal” kids as well.
This 5-day observation changed my life entirely…
I finally realized that I’m on the right track all along. I wanted to be an OT someday. Not because of the extra high salary…of course I admit, it was a part of it. More importantly, I want to help these young people. I want to be a part of their lives. I admire the OTs who never seems to get tired of molding the lives of these young and innocent children that are “uniquely” different that makes them apart from the rest yet special and indeed, smart individuals who are also a part of this world. I hope that people wouldn’t look down on them (special kids with CP, ADHD, DS etc.) anymore. That they’d think they are hopeless because of their sickness and that they are burdens of the community. You know what I think about the people who think this way? They are the real hopeless ones. They are the real burdens of the community. Because though normal, they couldn’t be effective individuals in their own ways. Heck, they’re just wasting their lives!
Being an OT entails so much responsibility. Coz you are like the second parent of your patients. The parents would trust you with their little ones and these little “special” ones give you the same amount of trust and love as well. So an OT, is not just a course mastered, it’s a matter of commitment and dedication. An OT is not made; he is born. And he’s probably the most compassionate being there is. How I wish I could be a good OT someday. I want my patients to love me too, I just love children and I love seeing those happy faces staring back at me.
“Choose a job that you love and you never work for a day”
That’s what we should always bear in mind. So we’ll never regret anything at the end. And I assure you, you wouldn’t enjoy being an OT if you don’t love it and just go for the money.
And you know the best part of it…? YOU GET ALL THE HUGS AND KISSES THAT YOU WANT! Well, from the kids, that is.=)
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading my article as much as I enjoyed typing it. Ta ta for now! (~^.^~)
What the heck is an OT???