Communication in occupational therapy is really important because the client is the only person who knows what they are having trouble accomplishing. Together, we discern what their capabilities are; by doing this, it gives me ideas on tackling the problem at hand. As an occupational therapist, you will be capable of performing better at your job if you are communicating with your patients about the different strategies they can use to try and solve their issues.
As a mentor, I like to talk with my clients about why something is working for them, and what ideas they have on changing it. The children I work with are mostly have full mental capacity, so they are able to give opinions for possible solutions. My method of working with my mentees on their fine motor skills, helps them see that they have a major role to play in this relationship. As an O. T. the last thing you want to do is present yourself to your patient as knowing everything and having them do things your way because that is going to make them retract.
When I first meet a child, I like to let them know that they have to be willing to help me figure out solutions to the problems they are having so they know right away that we are going to be equals. I also find that by doing this, the child is more open to trying things out versus me coming in and telling them how things are going to be done. As an occupational therapist your main objective is to get the individual as independent as possible, so you want to gain their trust right away.
Occupational therapists need to think of their position in the relationship as having book knowledge and experience and your client having the knowledge about themselves, so you both have something to bring to the table. My clients have taught me things that school couldn’t, and I am constantly learning different techniques. As professionals in the disability realm, we have the opportunity for learning and growth if we can swallow our pride and allow our clients to teach us.
As a mentor working alongside occupational therapists, I am always humbled by our clients. Humble yourself, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how much field work teaches you. Enjoy the ride your clients take you on and learn the things you never could have learned in school.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children
As occupational therapists and mentors, we have to be concerned about the health of our clients, because if they are not feeling well they are unable to work on therapy goals. As a mentor who has chronic pain, I am always trying to help our clients be comfortable, as this is how we can get better progress from our clients. I work with mostly teenagers and that means that they are just getting to know back pain and they are also learning how to work and cope with the pain.
My job is to help the care team to figure out different strategies for the client to be able to function with this new health problem. We play with different supports and positioning to help the client to feel more comfortable. My goal is to get the person into a comfortable position to allow them to use the assertive technology to help them to be more independent. If we can help the person to be more comfortable, then they are able to be healthier. If our client is healthier they are going to be more independent and happier.
If we can eliminate the pain, we can see our clients achieving more of their therapy goals in a shorter amount of time. We can also teach our clients to be healthier by working with them on natural ways to help alleviate pain. When our clients feel healthy we are able to accomplish more in a shorter time, so as an occupational therapist you want to first make the person comfortable before asking them to do a task. We want to push the client but not aggravate their pain. As the occupational therapist, you will know when to push and when to hold back.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children
The occupational therapists and I like to give our clients wheelchairs that really fit them as we want to see the individual and not the wheelchair. I with the occupational therapists work to fit seating to actually fit the person because that way there is minimal equipment around the person to allow us to see the person. I got new equipment myself and because I am little we had to get periodic equipment because we wanted people to see me and not the wheelchair. As a mentor I want the mentee to be seen because when people sees the wheelchair first that is how we forget the child is an actual person.
When we are fitting our clients to wheelchairs I like using laurels and other supports to really fit them so people are seeing the person. My rule of thumb is if I can find supports to fit the client exactly than we will better see the person. Nine times out of ten our clients will be small for their age so therefore we can get equipment that is meant for a younger person for that older child. I can always find something in pediatrics for my older clients which will allow us to see and to engage with the person without extra equipment that hides the individual. The public interacts with the child better if they are not seeing “medical” equipment first.
The wheelchair should not be the focal point and we can help that by getting little additions for the seating. When I am customizing seating to my mentees I like to use the little seating systems as most of them are small. We don’t want the seating to swallow the child because it is too big and if it is that big it will probably won’t probably support the child the way he or she needs to be supported. We have to remember the child is going to be seen in this every day and we want the wheelchair to support them and not be overwhelming. We can find the thin line between giving the person the appropriate support and at the same time have the seating system be under stated.
Until Next Time,
Enjoy Your Children
As my followers are aware of, I have severe back pain which requires me to change positions throughout the day to keep myself comfortable. As a mentor, I like to put my clients into different positions in the attempt to prevent pain for as long as possible. I want the clients I work with to have a variety of equipment to choose from, as I have discovered that it helps them to relieve pressure from their body. My main mentee is beginning to experience pain, so I have to figure out how to make her comfortable so that she can return to school and work with me on different social skills. If you think about it, we can change our positioning throughout the day, but if you could not you would begin to get uncomfortable and develop pain over time. We want the clients to be able to change positions in order to to be able to delay the development of chronic pain for as long as they are able to. I work with significantly physically disabled children, who are not able to change positions by themselves, so they have to ask care givers to change their positions.
Changing their positioning also prevents breaking down of the skin, which can lead to other health issues, and it rejuvenates their energy so that they are able to do more in their day. I mainly work with teenagers, so they are growing into their bodies, which causes growing pains, so we have to counteract that by constantly changing their positions. Individuals who are able to constantly reposition are going to be healthier and happier, so you are going to want to make sure that the care givers are constantly changing the clients’ positioning. The client should have various equipment at home and at their day program to allow the care givers to reposition them whenever they need to. Changing positions every two hours is what is recommended, and I work with little clients, which makes it easy for the care givers to change position. We want to prevent pain, as that will require more medicine, which is not a good thing, as most of my mentees are on anti-seizure medication already. I like to try to prevent problems rather than fixing the problem when it presents itself with more medicine, as that can put my clients at risk for medication interaction.
I practice what I preach, as after work I spend a good amount of my afternoon reading on my couch relieving my own back pain. I am keeping myself healthy by relieving pressure from my back after spending all day in my chair. Children who are significantly physically disabled need to keep good circulation, as if they have poor circulation they are prone to developing bed sores. As professionals in this field, we have the knowledge and the hands on experience to keep our clients comfortable and healthy. The equipment from the tumble foam company is made for comfort, so I use them for myself as well as my mentees. If you are able to keep them comfortable they are going to be able to do more and stay healthy.
Until Next Time, Enjoy Your Children .