‘An excellent reputation...’
Occupational Therapy Week is an annual event celebrated by occupational therapists around the world. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of occupational therapy and it's impact on people's lives. This year, Occupational Therapy Week will be held from Monday 6 November to Sunday 12 November. The theme for this year's event is "occupation matters".
Our highly experienced occupational therapy expert witness, Nicola Lawson shared with us what this years OT Week theme means to her;
"As a young girl, I was always interested in arts and craft activities, and would attend my mother's monthly social meetings with her friends where they would teach each other different crafts (such as sewing, knitting etc). My mum's friend (Joan) worked as an occupational therapy assistant in an elderly care hospital, teaching patients how to knit, crochet, basket work and clippy mats. The fundamental crafts used in occupational therapy settings in the 80’s. Yes, I'm that old! Funnily enough, that's where I met Ebby Sigmund who was working there as a newly qualified OT at the time.
When I was 16 years old, my mum's friend, Joan invited me to help her at work during my school holidays. I loved it! Spending quality time with elderly people and observing that by encouraging them to come together and engage in normal everyday crafts helped them to overcome social isolation, was so rewarding. These simple crafts (or for want of a better word "occupations") enabled them to focus on something other than their illness, concentrate on a specific task creating something purposeful, whilst also enjoying the company of the other residents and staff.
It is the simple things in life that give us great pleasure and purpose. My initial understanding and appreciation of occupational therapy remains my focus in my practice today. The occupations may have changed over the years, but I still look for the simple tasks, activities, hobbies, occupations and social roles that make each individual unique and give purpose to their lives. Once you understand what makes that person happy, the rest is easy.
The satisfaction that comes from being an OT is indescribable. I don't consider that I work as an OT, it's more about being an OT. Helping others at a time in their lives when they need support and guidance is the most rewarding experience. The profession has changed so much over the last 30 years but the fundamental goal of using occupations to promote independence and engagement in everyday life will always be the primary tool that OT's use to guide their intervention and assess their therapeutic outcomes."
If you are looking for more information about occupational therapy resources, visit The Royal College of Occupational Therapists website.