When someone has limited mobility they need to keep moving or they will lose the little mobility they do have. As an Occupational Therapist, you will need to not only give a young patient access to mobility but also teach the child to stand up and retain their own body’s mobility when they are under a supported living service. Most SLS will want to make most things easier on the staff rather than strengthen the client’s body. As an occupational therapist you have the pleasure of working with your client and their gained mobility and on how to do everything from eating to communicating efficiently. When I am working alongside an occupational therapist, I am always asking the child if they want to gain efficient ways to transfer and to communicate comfortably with their communication devices rather than figuring out ways to make the aides’ lives easier.
As an occupational therapist you are going to work on the fundamental life skills that a person needs to to live independently. The occupational therapist has the responsibility to give the child ample independence plus mobility to live a beautiful and independent life. As the occupational therapist on an IEP team it is your job to not only work on the clients’ independence but also on how they can continue to acquire additional mobility throughout their entire life.
As an occupational therapist you need to keep in communication with your client or you will lose their respect and trust. Due to my unique position of working in the disability realm and being a customer in that same realm, I find myself using the knowledge of my profession in my personal life. My current caseworker is essentially trying to take away my transferring ability by forcing me into the use of a Hoyer lift and weakening the strength of my legs and self-bodily support . As an occupational therapist, you need to teach your patients not only to attempt certain activities independently but how to stand up for themselves when someone attempts to lessen their body’s movements and allows the muscles to ‘rust’.
I like to get my clients to their highest level of independence with both being able to communicate and fight for what they know is right for their own well-being. My mentees are usually quadriplegics or severely disabled but my job is to teach them how to use their ‘voice’ to take care of themselves. Your clients may be so severely disabled that they have a feeding tube or other device, but that does not mean they can’t’ stand up’ for themselves. Teach them how to fight for the little they have, work their bodies to their optimal mobility and teach them how important it is for them to keep their bodies ‘well oiled’. It’s worth fighting for.
Until next time, enjoy your children!