2017 Year in Review: First Occupational Therapist Job, New Last Name

Something brought me back to this blog after about a 7 month long hiatus. I felt as cliche as it is to begin something fresh on the upcoming New Year, that  this was exactly what I needed to do to reignite the passion I have for writing for myself. An opportunity to   r e m e m b e r,      r e f l e c t,      r e w i n d,     and     r e v i e w   on past events. A way to capture the moment through words and pictures in order to look back on everyday life activities that seem to run together day after day in search for the weekend. Year 2017, for me, can be described in two words…


“Life Changes”


After graduating from occupational therapy graduate school in December 2016, I began my first job as an occupational therapist in an acute inpatient rehab unit at a small hospital on January 9, 2017! Hashtag adulting. It is quite the transition from seated school work to fieldwork to actually working 40 – 50 hours a week. The added challenge for me that first month was trying to be on top of my career responsibilities in addition to studying for my OT boards while working on a temporary license.


IMG_3457.jpgIn February – Praise the good Lord I passed the National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)! —> Shannen Weyer, OTR/L

I also enjoyed attending James’s medical school gala ball with him and some of our friends.



March came and went. I set a goal to run for enjoyment again. I ended up signing up for my first half marathon and winning (First Female Overall)  at Auburn’s Running Festival Finish on the 50 race in 01:34:42 so that was fun!!! The race kept me humble though because a 12 year old boy literally sprinted past me at the end haha:)

Some of my OT school friends and I celebrated Kristen’s wedding on March 25th in New Orleans. That was quite a night to remember!

In March I also published my first article for New Grad Occupational Therapy —>  6 Awesome Tips for Your First OT Job  !


April is National Donate Life Month. I changed the status on my Driver’s License in order to become an organ donor. If you are curious about what signing up to be an organ donor entails or if you would like to donate to an important cause click here for the National Donate Life Website.

My sweet bridesmaid Montana hosted my bridal shower at her house. I am thankful for all of my bridesmaids for planning this day. I felt very special and loved. Also they are too clever (sunflower seeds for party favors)!!

April is also Occupational Therapy Month and I would be a terrible OT if I forgot to mention this awesome profession celebrating its 100th birthday!!! #AOTACentennial




I turned 24 on May 13th. I cried because Marian who was my biggest mentor (even though she was a physical therapist – also she was born on May 13th too) since OT school left our hospital to do travel therapy in Georgia. At the end of May my mom and I celebrated a dear friend since high school on her wedding day.


My love for the geriatric population continues outside the walls of hospitals. With some of my closest friends and bridesmaids we ventured to Destin, Florida for my bachelorette weekend. It was too much fun and I will never forget when a group of older men chatted and took a picture with us! Also, these girls know how to plan a party.

I had the pleasure of serving and facilitating quality of life, meaningfulness, and acceptance for a patient who had Stage IV who I will honestly never forget;  He was a husband, dad, and so much more. In our occupational therapy sessions in addition to maximizing his comfort and ability to participate in his self care ADL skills, part of his OT session was dedicated to helping him create a “Legacy Book” of letters, pictures, and other trinkets to provide him with the ability to gift his family with something that they can revisit and appreciate. In his words “you have given me something that I have control of… something I can give to others, something this disease can not take from me”. A month later, I attended his funeral; although his life was cut short by this devastating disease, his memory, story, and legacy continues to live on.

Also in June was my dear friend Joanna’s wedding which I unfortunately could not attend but wasn’t she beautiful!!!!


My coworkers threw me a shower as well. They came up with creative games and put a lot of effort into it! Area of occupation —> Social Participation FIM Level 5 Standby Prompting necessary


FOREVER JAMMEN WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best month of the year leading up to the best day of the year – July 15, 2017.

I really don’t have words to sum up how much I want to relive this day over and over again. When I reflect on our honeymoon that James planned to Key West, I just want to jump back on a plane and go back!


14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as it is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.    Colossians 3:14 – 20


Surprise, we went to another wedding!!! One of my old college cross country/track teammates got married to one of my pre-occupational therapy friends!! It was a lovely wedding and our first wedding to attend as a married couple.

Also, in August we had car trouble but my Red Thunder and James’s car rallied and overcame the nonsense. It was not a fun time since we both were without a car for a little while but now honestly we just laugh and think about how it really was not that bad.

James began his third year of medical school aka rotations year. His first rotation was OBGYN and he was blessed to help deliver a bunch of little babies. He’s basically the cutest doctor to be.


My boss told me about a national slogan contest for Kindred Healthcare a few months prior. I didn’t think too hard about it and came up with a short slogan that actually was chosen as Kindred Healthcare’s national slogan for Rehabilitation Awareness Week.  National Rehabilitation Week is a nationwide celebration to educate people about the benefits of rehabilitation and the capabilities of people with disabilities which is sponsored by National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation (NRAF).

In September, my friend – physical therapist coworker and I went to Charlotte, North Carolina for an 8 hour continuing education course in Neuroplasticity and Stroke Rehab. We had a blast and really learned a lot!! Bilateral hand functional tasks < unilateral tasks…


October is Physical Therapy month and I wrote a little something something for NewGradOccupationalTherapy.com that ended up getting over 40,000 views (idk how) but if you’re curious click here to view “What Do Its ACTUALLY Do? Physical Therapy Myths Debunked”

Thomas Rhett: Home Team Tour 2017 at MS Gulf Coast with my best friend Ashton, check!! The best part was that it was actually the 14th of October…

Halloween is a serious holiday since James and I began dating. We knew we had to step up our game as our first married Halloween. Needless to say, Grinchmas came early this year… Love, Martha May and the… the… the.. THE GRINCH! NOW PUCKER UP AND KISS IT WHOVILLE!




November wrapped up with a great Thanksgiving with my new set of parents and family on the Coley side!!


Auburn didn’t win the SEC Championships, but I won with these friends!!!!!

James and I spent our first married Christmas in Biloxi! We may have indulged a little too much in some holiday food and at the Beau Rivage…

We watched the Saints win from our awesome seats, WHO DAT!!!!!

Wrapped up 2017 in NOLA which is one of James and my favorite places to visit annually. We visited the little antique shop which inspired my engagement ring 🙂 and we stayed at the beautiful Royal Sonesta.

Last wedding of 2017 in Mobile to celebrate two very much in love individuals. We enjoyed witnessing Christ’s love shining through the sacrament of holy matrimony!

Cheers to new beginnings in 2018!! 2017 you will be so very hard to top! ALSO THESE CHRISTIMAS FAMILY PICS by my friend and bridesmaid Anna are my life!!

stay mOTivated,


“For last year’s

words belong

to last year’s language

and next year’s

words await

another voice.”

-T.S. Elliot



Maevn Scrub mOTivation Review


When you look good, you feel good and when you can wear clothing that is basically the daytime equivalent to pajamas –well, you feel great!!

After three months in the real world as an occupational therapist (#promOTe) in the hospital setting, I am in scrubs five to six days a week; I’m so much more inclined to invest in another scrub set rather than a trendy dress that would sit in my closet!

Recently            Maevn Scrubs               had an awesome giveaway challenge through their Instagram page to promote their fantabulous scrubs. Thanks Maevn Scrubs for gifting me these pretties that are being put to great use! Below is my personal review on a set of EON Active Brand scrubs! 🙂


Scrubs that can be described in one word –>comfy

In all seriousness, I am really happy with the fit, style, and quality of these scrubs. In regards to the fit, they run true to size. I am 5’7″ and wear a Small in the top and bottom. These scrubs have an athletic feel to them with the shorter sleeves, tailored fit, and yoga style waistband. There is a variety of colors to choose from. I am wearing the scrub set in Pewter!


The material includes CoolMax technology that magically works to wick moisture away even when you walk back and forth across the hospital a million times a day. The neckline is V cut and it is not too low. I love the mesh panels located on the sides and down the center of the back for enhanced breathability. If you are looking for a top with a lot of pockets, you won’t be disappointed either. The top has two major front pockets with an inner utility loop in addition to a side zipper pocket. Click here to view details in regards to other colors and pricing.


The best part of these scrubs is the Yoga style knit waistband that is seriously awesome because 1) everyone loves yoga pants and 2) there is a hidden mesh pocket in the waistband which is perfect to store your phone. There are mesh panels on the sides for circulation. There are no shortage of pockets in these pants! Two slip pockets are located on the front in addition to two back patch pockets and a cargo patch pocket. To view details click here.

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Go online and browse  Maevn Scrubs to find his look and many other scrub designs to fit your unique style!


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It’s always a great time to serve others!! Cheers to all the physicians, NPs, PAs, nurses, therapists, and students out there working in a variety of settings and populations. Thanks again Maevn!

stay mOTivated,


Reflecting on 2016 and Recharging for 2017


2016 was a whirlwind for me.

Rang in the 2016 New Year with my family in Epcot along with everyone else in the world, the park was filled to max capacity!


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Wrote my first blog post out of frustration, necessity, and determination to advocate for DO and OT after one too many individuals questioned whether osteopathic physicians are “real doctors” and since half of my friends were convinced that I was just going to occupational therapy graduate school in order to help people find jobs. Here is my first blog post ever inspired by my fiance and his classmates on their way to becoming osteopathic physcians.    If you are interested in OT or have no idea what it is, click here.


Finished an exhausting but exciting last semester of OT school in the classroom. Praise to be to God- no more research although I loved my group.

Watched my little brother graduate from high school across the same stage I walked across years prior,

Completed a long, mentally taxing, but rewarding 12 weeks at an outpatient pediatric clinic for my first Level 2 OT fieldwork. Learned a lot about myself, found a new appreciation for parents of special needs kids, and increased my tolerance on caffeine. Curious to what OP peds is like through an OT lens, click here.

Became engaged to my college sweetheart who thoughtfully proposed to me in the most meaningful way -also he picked the loveliest antique ring out himself- we only went ring shopping once and that was a year and a half prior to the date we got engaged!- Who knew that the then 18-year-old boy in my freshman bio class would not only be my biology tutor, but also my husband! Click here to read “Our Story”.

asked six beautiful friends to be my bridesmaids,

mini vacation to Orlando with my parents and my uncle and aunt from Northern Ireland and their two princesses -saw Disney world through the lens of a captivated 3-year-old, priceless-


spent three months in Auburn and was convinced to move there because of my person, the people of Auburn, my experience at my 12 week second Level 2 fieldwork in an inpatient rehab/SNF setting, and the city itself, went out of my comfort zone to give a 45 min presentation to Auburn University’s Pre-OT/PT club eek, joined a weekly bible study with 20+ kindhearted girls, Click to read about my experience in an inpatient rehab setting.

adopted a grumpy 3-year-old cat whom at the time James and I didn’t know he was a Scottish Fold Hemingway cat (folded ears, and has six toes!!)

Coley/Seidel Thanksgiving

survived and thrived at my first Seidel/Coley Thanksgiving -James has a really large, but really loving family,

accepted my first real OT job offer in an acute inpatient rehab hospital  where I get the pleasure to work in a unit that is newly renovated, provides me with mentorship, and is staffed by a number of awesome physicians, physical therapists and assistants, occupational therapists and assistants, speech therapists, social workers, nurses, and care assistants,


presented my final case poster and graduated with my Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy with my Class of 2016 -2 and a 1/2 years of continuous grad school, check,

hosted James for his first Weyer/Cyr Christmas,

a month of relaxing, hanging out with my family, somewhat studying for my national  OT boards exam (please help me God),  reconnecting with high school friends that I hadn’t seen in quite awhile, wedding planning, and running down the beaches of the MS Gulf Coast.

2016 was awesome, but I am ready for 2017 and to begin my career as an occupational therapist and marry my fiancé!! I am not one to make crazy resolutions but I do have a few things I anticipate doing this new year.

2017 aspirations…

  • Be more confident in myself and say “no” more often.

  • Call my grandparents once a week and tell them about my day.

  • Learn to enjoy running again without feeling the pressure to run the times when I was running collegiately.

  • Sign up and complete a half marathon.

  • Pass my National OT boards exam. This one is a have to.. so not really an aspiration.

  • Seek mentorship and be my personal best entry level therapist without forgetting that it is okay to ask for help.

  • Be a mentor to undergraduate students who are interested in OT.

  • Be more patient with myself and others.

  • Be present, instead of worrying about the next step on my to do list.

  • Eat more whole foods. Including choosing specialty coffee drinks without syrups. sigh.

  • Write and submit an article for the OT practice magazine.

Cheers to 2017!!

I’d love to hear your goals for 2017! Comment below!

stay mOTivated,


Guest Post – Shoshanah Shear, Occupational Therapist and Author of “Healing Your Life Through Activity”


Occupational therapy is a worldwide, dynamic, and enabling profession that facilitates meaning and independence into the lives of others.img_3011 therapists from all around the world have the opportunity to connect with other OTs through national conferences and also world conferences through World Federation of Occupational Therapists. Learn more about WFOT here. In addition, as in the case for Shoshanah and I, social media (Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc) gives us another avenue to share our experiences as a new grad OT (me) and an advanced OT practitioner (her).

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2016 World OT Day – October 27


Shoshanah reached out to me through an international FB group called OT4OT.  She is a super cool occupational therapist with a diverse background and 25 years of experience (lololol 25 more years than me #babyOT – I’m not even 25 years old yet) in the field. She received her education in South Africa and currently practices in Israel. Shoshanah has also written the book Healing Your Life Through Activity: An Occupational Therapist’s Story which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. Click here to view more information about her book, pricing, and comments from her readers. I am pretty excited to read my copy soon 🙂 🙂 (guest I’ll wait til after I take the NBCOT meh…)!!


The most enticing aspect this book has to offer is the fact it is written for the layperson as well as to the most seasoned OT. If you are considering a career in this profession or if you are unsure of what the profession entails, this is the book for you.

In brief, if we don’t promote the profession and actively advocate for our practice, OT will continue to be underutilized and under-appreciated. 

I introduce my readers to Shoshanah Shear occupational therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of Tuvia Finds His Freedom and author of Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story.


Thank you Shannen for the opportunity to share a little of who I am as a person and as an occupational therapist for your OT blog. I appreciate the opportunity. The following provides answers to the 3 questions that Shannen asked me to include in addition to mentioning my book in order to display my perception of OT.

1) Where I am from:

The mini answer is: Israel.

The slightly longer though short answer is: I obtained my basic degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Cape Town in South Africa and currently live and work in Israel.

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University of Cape Town in South Africa

The long answer is: I was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and moved to Cape Town, South Africa as a child. I lived most of my life in South Africa and obtained my degree as a B.Sc (Occ Ther) Honours degree and was capped at my graduation from my late grandfather who was the first full time Dean of Engineering at the University of Cape Town. I worked for 4 and half years at a teaching hospital in Cape Town before traveling to the UK to work for 4 plus months, followed by a year in a school and vacation cover in a hospital in the US. I then worked in private and the community for 6 years in South Africa before moving to Israel.

Out of interest, where I am from confuses people. When I worked in the UK, no-one could place me. My accent is almost South African but not quite, it is sometimes leaning towards somewhere in the UK but not quite that either. They joys of being born in what was a British Colony. So when I was in the UK they thought I was either from Ireland or some thought North England and some disagreed and though South England. It took someone in a post office to pick up my accent. She stood a few people behind me in the queue (line) and suddenly got very excited to say exactly which city and country I was from. Though our skin colour differed she recognized me as she was born there too.

In the US I had another problem. In the school where I worked, I was denied attending the assembly to celebrate Africa Week, I also found several African American teachers would not permit me to enter their classrooms to work with students. I asked why I could not attend the assembly and was told it was not relevant to me and not to make fun of this important celebration. My response was to offer to sing Xhosi Sikaleli Africa for them. I even sing it with the correct clicks. This confused them terribly. I asked again what the problem was telling them I was born in Central Africa and grew up in South Africa. I told them I was even learning to speak Xhosa. To this they were most confused and one teacher said “It can’t possibly be!” while another said “but you are white!” almost in unison. This was a great eye opener for me as to the lack of education for many in the US of those who live in Africa. Not everyone born in Africa has a dark skin, yes there are all kinds of cultures living there and yes, someone who is Caucasian can be born in Africa.

 2) How Did I Become Interested in Occupational Therapy?

 The short answer: I heard about it from a career guidance counselor who could not tell me anything about the profession other than in her opinion it combined all my high school subjects.

The longer answer: I was actually exposed to OT from a young age but had no idea that I was until I began to study the profession. Even then some information only came to light as my studies progressed and even after graduating.

So, after I enrolled to study OT I discovered that my mother had explored studying OT but the screening process in those days included observing a surgical procedure which she struggled to do and was therefore denied applying. My aunt considered OT before beginning to study for her career.

A relative of mine had received OT when I was a child. I would go with my mother to drop the relative off but had no idea where she was going or what took place there. All I knew was that she went to this building and we would sit in a hot park and wait for ages until it was time to collect her and take her home. I was fascinated to learn years later that what transpired in the building that we went to weekly for a while was occupational therapy. This made an impression on me and today, in my practice I include family members in therapy as far as possible, wherever relevant to do so.

My greatest introduction to OT, however, came from my late grandfather. Once again I did not realize how various experiences I had throughout my childhood actually fitted into OT, until I began studying the profession. My grandfather was a very humble person. As I grew older, I learned that my grandfather had sustained a war injury during WW2 when he was stationed in Italy. His back was severely injured and it was a miracle that he ever walked again. He did all that he could to hide his pain and difficulties from us and never complained. Due to his gratitude at being able to walk, after returning to South Africa and resuming working as a Civil Engineer, he turned his attention to how to assist those less fortunate than he. He became chairman and later honorary life president of St Giles Organization for the Handicapped in Cape Town, South Africa. Through this role combined with his position of Deputy City Engineer he designed a rehabilitation centre for the organization, which he made a model of and used this to obtain a plot of land and necessary funding. He wrote a number of papers on accessibility for the disabled and his home was adapted so that his wheelchair dependent friends could both visit him and enjoy his beautiful garden too. He built the ramps himself that ran from the drive way into his garden and from the garden onto his veranda with access via the side door. His guest bathroom was wheelchair accessible. As a child I had asked about this and was only told these are for our friends to be able to visit.

My grandfather was instrumental in certain laws coming into place for accessibility of buildings in South Africa. Some of my grandfather’s wonderful work and the influence he had on my career as an OT is written up in my book: “Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story“. The book is also dedicated to him.

 3) My Personal Definition of Occupational Therapy:

So many have no idea what OT is and sadly many offer the suggestion to change the name of my profession. I do not understand why there are so many definitions of OT, this surely is confusing to everyone.

To me, the title “occupational therapy” describes everything we are about. We use occupations as a medium of treatment in order to assist our clients to be optimally independent in all areas of their life, throughout the life cycle.

Occupational therapy is concerned about what our clients need to or want to achieve in their lives both as long term goals and on a day to day basis. We evaluate their unique situation in much detail in order to establish how the person functions as an individual, in their family, school / work, environment and their community and how each of these impacts on his / her daily functioning. This information guides us in formulating a treatment plan that is case specific and evidence based to enable our clients to live a functional and active life of meaning and purpose.


Reviews include:

“This book is a remarkable description of the development and the journey of Occupational Therapy. It is described in a unique manner through the eyes of a professional, drawing on experiences gained in various countries and clinical settings… The book will be read with interest by patient’s families, all health care students, and medical practitioners, who will be enlightened further, and gain significant understanding of patient care.

Emeritus Professor Tuviah Zabow, Retired Head of Psychiatry, Cape Town, South Africa.

“I was most impressed with the very extensive coverage of occupational therapy as an important modality to help so many people of all ages and different disabilities and backgrounds to regain function, and return to productive life.”

Norman Samuels, M.D., Part-time Medical Director and Retired Obesity Surgeon, Florida, USA.

The book, “Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story” by Shoshanah Shear can be found on:

CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/6406489

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Your-Life-Through-Activity/dp/1535161604

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Healing-Your-Life-Through-Activity/dp/1535161604


I for one hope to receive a signed copy of this very interesting, personal, and impeccable analysis of occupational therapy.


This guest post is written by Shoshanah Shear.

Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of “Tuvia Finds His Freedom” and author of “Healing Your Life Through Activity – An Occupational Therapist’s Story

***Have any topics for my next post? Comment below! :)***

stay mOTivated,


mOTivation For the Long Term (care and inpatient rehab level 2 fieldwork)


12 weeks goes by even faster the second go around.



My final occupational therapy Level 2 fieldwork was at an inpatient rehab/long term care facility just 15 minutes from Auburn University >>>war eagle, hey<<<. What are Level 1 and Level 2 fieldworks? Click here! With a patient caseload pretty much 3-4x older than me –they basically thought I was about 12–, this was a complete contrast (or so I thought) to my prior fulltime fieldwork in outpatient pediatrics where the majority of my caseload was younger than 8 years old.  The experiences of working separately with the two populations on opposite ends of the spectrum was truly invaluable for my clinical competence and personal growth.

>>>>>BASICALLY, LEVEL 2 FIELDWORK IS THE BEST (and in some ways the most challenging) PART OF OT SCHOOL.<<<<<

In this post, you will find my stream of consciousness thought process as a student in addition to a broad overview of the process of OT in this specific setting!!

In outpatient peds my full attention was given to an individual kiddo in an isolated treatment room (with my stellar supervisor) away from other therapists and distractions from outside those four walls. However, an OT who works in an inpatient rehab/skilled nursing facility/long term care whichever way you refer to this site does not operate like this at all. A nursing home is in essence an extension of a hospital; thus, it provides 24 hour medical care in addition to rehabilitative or restorative services and so therapists must be much more cognizant of the patient’s medical needs.

runnMoreover, in an outpatient setting- yes you must understand the medical history of the patient- but these individuals are considered “medically stable” and are eligible to receive rehabilitative services without  constant medical care. When I was in the very fast-paced OP pediatric world I felt like I was rrrruuunnnnnnning 90 miles an hour every hour, but I was able to attend to the occupational (primarily areas of occupation including ADL, education/school, play) needs of the child without really worrying about how my intervention plan would affect the medical status of the child.


Fast forward three months later on my first day as an OTS in the inpatient rehab/LTC setting— and these five thoughts piddled through my brain.

  1. Cute old people!! I just love them. Second thought-eeeeeek at all of this medical equipment to navigate around during therapy hmmmmm foley catheters, IVs, nasal cannulas and oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, walkers, the works. Brain immediately and silently freaks out because although I can tell these patients are resilient-they are also fragile and need a med terms refresher.
  2. Wayyyyyy slower paced than peds. Between ensuring adequate rest breaks to checking O2 sats to asking a nurse for a snack for a patient with low blood sugar to stopping briefly for medication administration, there are multiple brief interruptions in this setting and that is okay!
  3. Less documentation. Whattttt???? I don’t have daily detailed (loooovved my kiddos but pediatrics or outpatient in general equals a lot of documentation) soap notes and reassessments to write. #score
  4. Holy crap there are a ton of people in multiple professional healthcare disciplines needed to work (with goal being collaborative care) together for the health and well-being of these patients. (Also on that first day I asked myself how in the world would I learn every individual name…)
    1. Physicians to nurse practitioners to physician assistants to rehab-occupational, physical, speech- to audiologists, to RNs, LPNs, and CNAs, to restorative care to social services to janitorial services, to cafeteria staff and more–each job duty with its own unique contribution and need.
    2. I have an utmost appreciation for physical therapists and speech therapists after countless awesome cotreat sessions with them.
  5. Woot woot I get my own desk. feelin da love. Really though. My coffee cup enjoyed having a place for it everyday.

PSA***MDs and DOs worked as the attending physicians over the plan of care at this facility-what a concept that there are 2 and only 2 real types of physicians in America-please for the love if you know a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) or a DO student give them a hug because for some reason the world hasn’t caught on to them yet-admittedly, I didn’t know how awesome osteopathic physicians were either until about 3 years ago*** and click here to learn more.

Where to begin-

Nursing homes get a bad rap- let me just start out with that. But this misleading perception can change if we become the change (which is undeniably difficult to do when you have the pressures of Medicare billing and productivity). ~~~~Think person-centered. Be person-centered.~~~

Patients are people first.

It’s just as important to remember this as a student therapist as it will be years (many years) down the road as an advanced occupational therapy practitioner-as well as in any healthcare fields.

Their occupational identity (how the individual describes himself/herself): Teachers, Engineers, Nurses, Salesmen, Carpenters, Administrators, Counselors, Realtors, Secretaries, Welders, Church leaders, Janitors, Retail workers, Police officers, Volunteers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Fathers, Mothers, Sons, Daughters, you name it.

Their occupational identity (how the chart describes him/her): COPD, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Peripheral neuropathy, Diabetes, Hip replacement, Knee replacement, Cognitive decline, Low vision, OA, RA, history of cancer, Myocardial infarction, Cervical spine survey, Rotator cuff repair, Amputations, Cardiac disease, Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia… to name a few.

***note- I am not saying that the medical chart/patient history isn’t important!! It is extremely important!! I am just emphasizing that it is also imperative to retrieve enough info on a patient’s occupational/work/life history in addition to their medical history. This extra effort is demanded from OTs in order to develop an occupational profile that will promote client centeredness from the beginning (initial evaluation) through the end (discharge). Gathering an occupational profile in this setting will enable the occupational therapist and/or occupational therapy assistant to choose treatment interventions that not only address underlying problems or weakness areas, but also are of some meaning to the patient.***


(at least this is how it was at my site):

  1. Initial Evaluation

  2. Evaluation Write Up and Goals

  3. Intervention Plan and Implementation

  4. Progress Reports with Updated Intervention Plan and Goals

  5. Family Meeting to discuss progress

  6. Discharge

#1. Initial Evaluation-

  1. READ and comprehend the patient’s medical chart. Physician notes, nurse notes, therapy history, precautions, etc. Reason for referral. Length of prior hospital stay. Find out treatment and diagnosis code.
  2. Patient/caregiver interview and general observation. What is the patient’s occupational identity? What is the patient’s prior level of function? Any falls in the last 6 months? Behavior changes? Where does the family/patient hope to discharge to after rehab? Using your clinical competence–is this potential D/C location feasible and safe? EXPLAIN IN PATIENT FRIENDLY LANGUAGE WHAT OT IS IN REFERENCE TO THAT PATIENT’S NEEDS.
  3. Have patient rate his pain verbally or nonverbally depending on cognitive status.
  4. What can the patient do now? Includes bed mobility, assessment of ADLs-toileting, feeding, grooming, bathing-, use of an assistive device, range of motion/manual muscle testing, sensory testing, visual  processing, and more.

#2. Eval Write Up and Goals

  • Varies by facility and electronic documentation system
  • Along with the initial evaluation, the Evaluation write up and goals must be written by the registered therapist
  • Short term and long term goals
  • Probably should make it a habit to make a long term bathing goal for most patients because it addresses a jillion things (functional mobility, safety, activity tolerance, dynamic sitting or standing ability, visual perceptual skills, sequencing…)

#3. Intervention Plan and Implementation

  • Be creative, client-centered, and occupation-based
  • Improve strength, endurance, and coordination in effort to reach PLOF
  • Treat underlying impairments that are hindering occupational participation
  • Think >>>>occupation as means, occupation as ends<<< (I need a new post to explain this)
  • ADL training, ADL training, ADL training!!!! In the patient’s room, in the ADL kitchen, in the rehab gym–so important
  • Co treat!!! PT and ST bring awesome cards to the table!
  • Teach modifications to activities -change the task, completely eliminate a portion of the task, provide adaptive equipment as needed
  • Compensatory strategies are always a win -joint protection, task segmentation, energy conservation…)
  • OT is all-encompassing which is probably why it is so hard to explain at times, hmmm.

I will explain each of the above pictures in a later post that dives deeper in the intervention process- 🙂

#4/5. Progress Reports and Family meeting

  • Discuss the patient’s progress, activity tolerance, medical concerns, insurance/ Medicare days (mehhh), plans for D/C, and any needed AE fr home.

#6. Discharge

  • PT, OT, ST and other disciplines collaborate with the patient’s D/C goal in mind to determine the safest environment that is the least restrictive

Death and Dying–For me the most difficult part of working in this setting can be summed up in one experience I had at mass one Sunday. “We pray for those who have died this week including…” And that’s when I broke down in tears because one of the names read was one of my patients whom I did not expect to pass so soon. It is this experience and a few others that will remain with me and remind me to be kind and compassionate to even the most irritable patients because when it comes down to it-they are someone’s mom, dad, sister, brother, friend before they are patients.

Halloween ———————————Rehab Style

Since Halloween was on a Monday this year, we brought the holiday spirit to the residents. As an OT to be, it’s important for me to be able to adapt to multiple contexts… so I altered my Statue of Liberty costume in order to be in appropriate attire necessary to treat patients. Summer, the speech therapy student, brightened up many patients’ days as a strawberry. The rest of the rehabilitation team -speech, occupational, and physical therapists and assistants- dressed as deviled eggs, which was quite a sight. Also, creating a caramel apple pumpkin was pretty sweet as well.



I am without a doubt grateful for my 12 weeks spent collaboratively working with my clinical instructor, speech, occupational, physical therapists and assistants, nurses, CNAs, social workers, physicians, and other disciplines. I am most thankful for the patients who have deepened my passion for the profession, increased my insight, and allowed me to be a small part of their lives-they are the reason this field continues to grow and enables us to have fulfillment in our role of being advocates, listeners, encouragers, adapters, and lifelong learners through our professional identity of occupational therapists.

As much as I love kids, my heart belongs to the patients with the old souls, the wisest stories, and the most loving hugs. I am so excited to begin my career as an occupational therapist and am so stoked to graduate December 10th!!! Cheers to the class of 2016!!

Let all you do

Be done in L O V E.

1 Corinthians 16:14

 stay mOTivated,


mOTivation to Power through Peds- OT Level 2 Fieldwork





Ready to graduate in December! One Level 2 rotation down, 1 to go!



A lot of life has happened since my last post (3 months ago oops)!


Turning 23 and watching little brother walk across the same stage that I did in 2011 to preparing for “studenting” outside of the OT school classroom to switching from girlfriend to future bride   (f o r e v e r      j a m m e n)     to learning that kids are exhausting but rewarding to finishing my fieldwork with a sense of fulfillment and more.

What is Level 1 OT fieldwork?

Well, for starters Level 1’s are definitely not created for the student to achieve independent performance such as the expectation of  Level 2. Rather, Level 1’s are for increasing the comfort level between student therapists and clients with an emphasis on…

“experiences designed to enrich didactic coursework through directed observation and participation in selected aspects of the occupational therapy process” (AOTA.org).

These experiences vary from school to school but typically include about 5 settings in which a student will observe and participate in intervention planning/implementation to a wide variety of clients (developmental delay, Autism Spectrum, Down Syndrome, amputees, war vets-God Bless them-, physically/mentally impaired, survivors of strokes, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, motor vehicle accidents… the list goes on and on-in all sorts of settings ranging from inpatient rehab to acute care to neuro/lymphedema to outpatient pediatrics to skilled nursing facility (SNF) to schools based. Some occupational therapy schools may choose to send their students to one site for 5 consecutive days and then complete coursework the following weeks. My school –University of South Alabama-
Go jags– sends their students to a site once a week for 5 weeks between semesters 3 and 5. The student continues to receive graduate level education in a regular classroom 3 days a week in addition to 1 day of clinical fieldwork. For example, I attended the following 5 settings for my Level 1 experiences: acute care, SNF, outpatient pediatrics, schools-based, and hands/orthopedic.

What is Level 2 OT fieldwork?

First things first, this is the realist-no matter if you were an all A’s student or if you barely inched your way through OT school, your success in fieldwork is dependent on your work ethic, interpersonal skills, ability to handle stress, personal research, flexibility, among other characteristics– this in addition to applying the knowledge learned through curriculum work and previous Level 1’s. In my opinion those aforementioned qualities are much more important than your book smarts. There is none of the 89.99 nonsense that makes you angry at school when you receive a B when you worked your bum off the whole semester instead of an A-whereas the classmate next to you with an 81.0 receives a B without half the stress (or hard work) you put yourself through >>type A problems<<. In OT Level 2 fieldwork land it is simply Pass or Fail. If you happen to achieve 170 out of 170 so be it, but that does not earn you a golden star and you aren’t cooler than your peers even though that is the ideal score.

For Level 2 Fieldwork, the American Occupational Therapy Association Standards requires a minimum of 24 weeks full-time (my school requires two 12-week rotations in totally different settings) for occupational therapy students. All students must complete the fieldwork (both Level 1 and Level 2) required by their school program.

In a nutshell, you can think of Level 1 fw like an opportunity to observe and then treat with less emphasis on the “why” you chose specific interventions and much more emphasis on learning through example. Level 2 fw is like Level 1 fw on steroids. Perhaps the first week is more laissez-faire, but after that it is time to apply your knowledge gained from school and previous observation/treatment and truly transition from the “academic” mindset to the “application and adapt interventions as you go” mindset.

See more information on Level 2 fw here.


Prep Prior to Pediatric Level 2

After 2 years of going, going, gooooing in the classroom (including 5 Level 1’s), it is pretty natural to feel a little burnt out. With that being said I didn’t touch a book or read anything OT Practice/AOTA/Pinterest anything occupational therapy related for the first week after the conclusion of my fifth semester. After I enjoyed a little leisure time (important area of occupation!!!), I was well-rested, nervous, and excited for my quickly approaching rotation. At my school our main Early Childhood Development course was in our first semester, which felt like an eternity ago. I definitely had to brush up on infant reflexes, developmental milestones, age appropriate grasping skills, and interventions as well as a multitude of other topics. The fact of the matter is that in OT WORLD pediatrics is a specialty area.

And so it begins…

The first week flew by and I remember being amazed by the fast-paced expectations. In contrast to adult outpatient rehab where you may have an easier time communicating and coaxing your clients into performing an important skill (by reminding them that they need to do these interventions to get well in order to perform activities of their interest again or to get back to work or even in order to increase their independence in personal daily skills), in pediatrics you have to truly incorporate the child’s favorite toy or game in addition to communicating at their level to accomplish client-centered therapy. Peds OT is all about manipulating or adapting a game or a toy to address an array of skills. And don’t get me started on handwriting (who would have known there is literally like 10 different types of writing paper…)and appropriate grasp on a writing utensil because that is a skill you learn to incorporate during treatment (tx) sessions on the job—aka have stickers or something awesome to bribe a child with to complete this portion of therapy–or think multisensory and have the child don (place) his/her 1st digit or a q-tip into shaving cream, paint, or tactile sand!!

Always aim to address multiple goals!

OT is synonymous for bringing craftiness and creativity and aligning interventions to theory! Below are a few different “toys” I made to address multiple needs at the OP clinic.

The Hungry Caterpillar

As a child I really loved The Hungry Caterpillar. On Pinterest I saw many different button snakes that pedi OTs and preschool teachers made to help their kiddos learn to button. Once again it is all about how you can take an activity and adapt it to address numerous skills. For my Hungry Caterpillar button snake I bought all of my craft materials at Michael’s (felt paper, button, string, hot glue gun), and went to work… some of my food items came out a little better than others but the kids loved it!!

So what’s so cool about a book and a button snake??

It addressed the following skills depending on how I presented it to the child…

  1. Unbuttoning/buttoning medium sized buttons –> to decrease caregiver burden in this self-care dressing task
  2. 2 step directions (verbally give directions to retrieve 2 felt food pieces)–> to improve auditory processing, memory retrieval, recall
  3. Simple figure ground (spread the felt pieces out in front of the child and have him/her find a specific piece)–> to improve ability to find a specific object in a busy background such as independently retrieving a desired clothing item in a messy drawer full of clothes at home
  4. Pattern imitation/color matching or identification–> to improve sequential memory skills
  5. Gross motor skills(indirectly)-Spread the pieces out on one side of the room and have the child frog jump, crab walk, army crawl, etc to the other side of the room with the pieces–> to increase age appropriate balance, body posture, endurance, ability to wear bear for hand strengthening.

Visual Schedule Board

Naturally, I feel better when I have a tentative schedule for my day in mind. I’m quite certain I am not the only individual who feels this way. I keep my planner handy in my purse for this reason; however, without my planner I can still perform my tasks for the day in the correct sequence and timing (but I feel anxious not being able to physically scratch it off my never ending to do list). That is not as easy of a feat for child with a disability such as a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For this reason, I decided to revamp the clinic’s visual board with the following simple materials (clothespins, paint brush, felt paper, icon pictures, sturdy board).

Reasons to use a visual schedule board…

  • Visual processing with pictures rather words eliminates reading comprehension demand
  • Provides predictability and structure
  • Provides a point of reference for a child to know when is the next break or “recess”
  • teaches organization and improves transitioning between activities
  • Increases inclusion in regular ed classes
  • Helpful in task analysis

Sensory Bottles


If you are in need of a quick sensory calming strategy that can be used in a variety of contexts (such as in a car, in the grocery store, etc), a sensory bottle may be the just-right option for you. These are cheap and are made by upcycling bottles and filling them with a multitude of different items such as colored sand, pebbles, water beads, sequins, and glitter. If a child is having a behavioral outburst or mini meltdown and you aren’t in an environment that provides you with the atmosphere to apply deep proprioceptive input or other calming input, this may be an easy and effective solution in effort to improve one’s ability to self-regulate by providing an outside calming source (similar to newborns that learn to regulate their breathing and body temp through skin to skin contact with their mom).

After completing my 12 weeks in an outpatient pediatric setting I firmly believe (and so does my CI) that if the opportunity to work in peds presents itself, I can do it wholeheartedly and effectively. After completing 16 6-8 page evaluation write ups (and those are the ones I wrote by myself), 36 intervention plans weekly, a few reassessments, multiple mini projects, 10 progress notes, and countless detailed daily notes later, I am thankful and relieved!

When you treat/”play” with a kid, you get the opportunity to impact the kid and the parent’s life and that’s truly special.


Nevertheless, in the middle of my fw two awesome life events happened…

  1. James and his classmates finished their first year of medical school!!! So proud.
#9 in the air, #1 in my heart



sunshine finisher

Curious about medical school?? Not sure if it’s for you or not?? Did you know there are two routes to becoming fully licensed physicians that can treat, diagnose, and perform surgery?? Allopathic vs. Osteopathic (and no this is not referring to naturopathic “doctors”…). MD vs DO and their pros and cons—-> MD vs. DO: DO your research

2. James proposed!!!! I get to be his forever bride!

little did I know that in a few hours I’d be engaged to a sunshine




Literally up to an hour before he proposed with the most romantic plan ever, I was writing evaluation write ups and intervention plans for my kiddos.  I live a blessed life and he is the best part of myself. Who knows maybe we will open some type of clinic together one day:)



Next rotation begins Monday in a SNF/inpatient rehab facility. Wish me luck!!!

Stay mOTivated,



Low Vision: DO you see the pOTential?

“It’s not what you look at that matters,

it’s what you see.”

-Henry David Thoreau

A little cornea, I know,

But… the point is that a group of people looking at an identical image can see and feel different things. An avid runner who wakes up in the hospital from a car wreck to a double BKA will likely see things differently than before her injury. Her accident may not have directly affected her vision, but it definitely will change the way she sees, perceives, and interprets things. Key point is that our clients, with or without impaired vision, may see something completely different than we see when looking through our typical healthcare professional “lens”.

Be empowered to SEE from the client’s perspective.

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—–>Did you know that you can be an occupational therapist (OT) and work in an eye clinic or vision center? Or better yet get certified in this specialty area? OT is everywhere. What a time to be alive.

—–>Did you know that there are ophthalmologists from an osteopathic (rather than allopathic) background? It takes a special person to go through medical school with the intention of becoming an ophthalmologist. It takes an even more special person to graduate from an osteopathic medical school and be accepted into a traditionally allopathic ophthalmology residency. But it’s possible. It has been done before. And I have a friend in DO school who will pursue a residency in a few years in ophthalmology and pursue it well. War eagle, I digress.

Aubie would like to thank all of his vision team members for helping him see better and keeping his glasses stylish.



Before diving into the job duties of different healthcare professionals including MD/DOs, ODs, OTs, and more, first I want to discuss some general vision components as well as  a few eye conditions related to low vision.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Low vision is a loss of eyesight that makes   e v e r y d a y   tasks difficult. A person with low vision may find it difficult or impossible to accomplish activities such as reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car or recognizing faces.”

Clients with low vision are more inclined to rely on others to perform a variety of ADLs and IADLs….hmm I’m pretty sure those are two of the several occupation areas under an OT’s scope of practice. Sounds to me like occupational therapy services can definitely benefit a client who fits this definition in order to address how visual barriers are hindering occupational performance in a variety of contexts.

Not sure what  OT is? Click for more details on the occupation who works to help you live a meaningful and purposeful life at —> OT: the art and science therapy

But what is Low Vision?

  • Less than normal vision that cannot be corrected by lenses, medication, or surgical procedures

  • Is different than blindness (an individual with low vision will have residual vision-a blind individual will not)

  • Is a loss that is not a natural part of normal aging

  • Is a giant umbrella term that includes many disorders or conditions

  • characterized by impairments in visual field or visual acuity

For videos of hope and empowerment directly from clients who have low vision, click to view from the National Eye Institute.

Key Terms-Visual Components

  • Visual Field: This is the range of vision that we have. Try it. Look straight ahead and focus on one object. Can you see 60 degrees up and down (central field) and 180 degrees side to side (peripheral field)?
  • Visual Acuity: The sharpness of an image.
  • Contrast Sensitivity: Can you distinguish the different contrasts? Black to grey to white?
  • Visual Perception: Can you process the image? If a client cannot process the image, maybe there are problems with the neuron folds-the eye is intact but the brain is not receiving the message.

a few of the most common conditions related to LV

  1. Cataracts: clouding of lens
  2. Age related macular degeneration: damage to central part of retina-two types-wet or dry
  3. Diabetic retinopathy: secondary to diabetes-results from change in blood vessels in the retina
  4. Glaucoma: damage to the optic nerve-normal fluid pressure in the eye rises and results in vision loss

To learn in depth about these conditions and several other eye conditions, click here.

Eye sketched my eyes.


the Teamdream

Why are these team members so intelligent?

Cause they are good pupils. 



These are the guys (or girls of course!!) who break up with Med School the Mistress after 4 years of ups and down and trials and triumphs and meet their >>>perfect  prescription<<<–an ophthalmology residency for X amount of years.


According to American Academy of Ophthalmology, “ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in their levels of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery”.

He or she comes from either an allopathic (MD) OR an osteopathic (DO) medical school background. Don’t worry there was also a time I didn’t know that there were two types of physicians, (cue eye rolls) but it’s a real thing people and they (the doctors that DO) have been around longer than you think. I did the research for you though so click for more information on the differences and similarities of both types of physicians here —> MD vs. DO: DO your research

Some ophthalmologists who have a   h e a r t   for a specific area of medical eye care may choose to become subspecialists by completing more in-depth training. This training is known as a fellowship and can be in a variety of areas such as retina, cornea, glaucoma, and others…

(aka lots of school but they get through it by keeping their eyes on the prize, literally and figuratively).


These are the guys and gals who treat refractive error with glasses, contacts, or magnifiers. Yes, you (as a patient) address them as Dr. ____ . Rightfully so because they worked hard for their doctorate, butttttttt just remember they are different than an MD or DO ophthalmologist because they do not go to medical school and are not medical doctors.

Optometrists concentrate mainly on structure and function of the eyes. These are frame gurus who are licensed to practice optometry which is typically primary vision care. ODs may perform vision exams, prescribe and dispense corrective lenses, detect eye abnormalities and prescribe some medications for some eye diseases. They receive a four year doctoral-level degree in optometry post-undergrad. Optometrists do typically receive advanced clinical experience in the field under a mentor after graduating. If you are interested in learning more about optometry, click here !

Faithful to my annual eye checkup visits but I could do without the dilated eyes…


Why do optometrists live long lives you ask????

Because they di-late.


This vision team member uses prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or sometimes optometrists to design and fit frames, glasses,  and contact lenses. They do not test vision and do not diagnoses or provide treatment for eye diseases.


This certification was created due to the diversity of professions with interest in working with the low vision client population. To meet this demand, a committee comprised of individuals representing the different disciplines active in low vision established this interdisciplinary certification. Some of the committee members represented orientation and mobility, optometry, special education for the visually impaired, rehabilitative counseling, and others. The first low vision certificates were issued in 1997 to eligible therapists who achieved passing scores. This exam was revised in 2005 by the Academy for the Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

Occupational therapists are among the professionals who are active in attaining this certification. Perhaps what makes OTs attracted to this certification is the fact that the CLVT does not just address a client’s visual impairments (visual fields, contrast sensitivity function, color vision, visual acuity, visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, the list goes on…) but also evaluates a client’s ADL, IADL, educational, and work performance which are all areas of occupation that OTs address with their clients. In addition, CLVTs also evaluate a client’s quality of life and address psychosocial aspects that may be hindered due to vision loss/low vision.


These members of the low vision rehabilitation team provide educational instruction to visually impaired individuals in hopes to teach their clients to “utilize their remaining senses to determine their position within their environment and to negotiate safe moment from one place to another”(acvrep.org).

COMS may teach an assortment of skills including training individuals with low vision to use canes, guide dogs, or electronic devices for safer travel.




The SCLV is for occupational therapists only. (There is also a SCLV-A for occupational therapy assistants.) It was established in 2006 by AOTA in order to provide a formal recognition of OTs who have both specialized knowledge and clinical expertise with the low vision population.

An OT with this specialty certification is experienced in collaborating with ophthalmologists, optometrists, and other vision team members in addition to experience in the use of optical devices and assistive technology in this area. Basically, you are a huge deal in the OT world if you achieve this recognition by fulfilling all of the requirements, passing the exam, and moreeeeeee-minimum of 600 hours delivering OT services in the certification area to clients in the past 5 calendar years-it is pretty intense.

the OT vision

  • 1990–Health Care Finance Administration expanded the meaning of “physical impairment” to also include low vision
  • 1999–The Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999… I repeat since the year 1999 physicians have had the go-ahead to refer clients with a sole diagnosis of low vision to receive occupational therapy services. Hashtag blessed from all occupational therapists who receive referral sources from our MD/DO friends.

mOTivated to intervene-OT interventions for Low Vision

OT focus is on the assessment and intervention of the PERSON, ENVIRONMENT, and OCCUPATION.

“Many older adults experience age-related vision changes that can’t be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. Occupational therapy practitioners help people with low vision function at the highest possible level by preventing accidents and injury (e.g., improving lighting), teaching new skills (e.g., eccentric viewing, visual tracking), modifying the task or environment (e.g., recommending magnifiers), and promoting a healthy lifestyle (e.g., ensuring they can participate in their daily activities).”

-American Occupational Therapy Association


***many of these objectives listed below can be addressed by multiple members of the team; however, an occupational therapist -uniquely- provides intervention to address these items with the goal of facilitating occupational adaptation to improve occupational performance… this is just a preview of how awesome and useful OTs can be as members of the lv rehab team***


  • Eccentric viewing:

    • Encourage the client to use the area of her retina that has not been damaged
  • Visual scanning

    • Practice locating an object of interest in the environment-perhaps have client locate a list of items from the pantry for meal preparation (IADL) task
  • Residual vision practice

  • Increase coping strategies

    • Decrease fear of unknown or fear of progressive vision loss-provide psychosocial support to facilitate development of coping skills
  • *be aware of signs of depression and refer to mental health practitioners as needed


  • Home modifications

    • Safety recommendations-reduce clutter in home
    • Color landing areas at top and bottom stairs to provide high contrast to increase visibility and decrease risk of falls
    • Use white plates on a dark tablecloth
    • Wrap brightly colored tape onto pot handles to increase visibility
  • Increase lighting

    • Recommend better lighting sources-possibly adaptive equipment-change lighting placement
  • Eliminate glare

  • Tactile Markings

    • Ex: a home health OT trains client on tactile markings on frequently used appliances-can simply use puff paint from a local craft store to mark specific knobs or buttons on a stove, microwave, etc to help client foster independence
  • Organization System

    • Encourage client and caregiver/significant other to have objects in their house placed in a manner that is routine and easiest for client to remember and navigate.


  • Task modification

    • Provide task adaptations or supports to continue engagement in as many previous occupations as possible
  • Leisure exploration

    • Facilitate participation in new occupations of interest
  • Community support

    • Give client resources to be active in her community
    • Decrease social isolation by advocating for access to services

Envision the extraordinary.

If you or your loved one is experiencing low vision, you are not alone and deserve access to resources to enable participation in activities that you find to be meaningful. The National Eye Institute has a list of resources here!! What strategies work best for you?

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stay mOTivated,











Have any ideas for my next blog post, please comment below!!



OT Month: ABCs of OT 2016

Occupational therapy is a powerful, science-driven, and evidence-based profession. Part of an OT’s role is to help meet society’s occupational needs. However, how can we help meet these needs, if OT is not widely known much less widely understood? April 1-30 was designated “OT Month” to correspond with AOTA’s Annual Conference & Expo. I decided to participate in the #OTPhoto challenge on IG by posting a picture and description of how valuable OT is using each letter of the alphabet in order to promote #OTMonth.


the OT Alphabet…

A is for ADAPTIVE Equipment.


To enable functional outcomes sometimes our clients need a creative way to do an activity differently. We want them to maintain as much independence as possible. Adaptive equipment can come in many different forms. Here are a few examples.

  • Sock aid: a client who recently had a hip replacement will have hip precautions that interfere with his dressing. We use the sock aid to help him put on his socks without bending down too far.
  • Colored overlays: useful for little kiddos who have trouble attending to the reading task or has dyslexia
  • Adaptive door knob: picture a client who has a SCI and cannot grasp or pronate/supinate-wrap foam tubing around a door and zip ties so that client can use his wrist to push down to turn the knob.

B is for BALANCE.


Balance can come in many forms. Here are a few examples.

  • To improve one’s dynamic sitting balance, the client may be guided through an isometric core routine as a warm up before performing ADL’s on the EOB which will require client to reach and work on balance simultaneously.
  • To improve one’s dynamic standing balance, the client will be asked to perform an activity such as a sorting task (laundry, meal prep, etc) while standing. OT will have a gait belt on the client for safety reasons.
  • Balance is not just for clients. The OT or in my case-the OT student-always will need to work on her own occupational balance. When I prioritize my time and balance my schedule in order to fulfill OT school demands with my leisure pursuits (writing, painting), social needs (spend quality time with family and friends), and self-care/health maintenance needs, then I consider myself in occupational balance.

C is for CONTEXT.


Context can mean many different things and can be analyzed in every situation. Here are a few examples. 1) Personal Context: an individual’s internal environment that comes from his or her gender, age, values, morals, and beliefs 2) Social Context: this is the human environment that helps us define our roles and can hinder or facilitate one’s occupational function 3) Cultural Context: these are the norms or traditions that the community creates or establishes.

Context applied to my life when I went for a family boat ride… Personal Context: made the choice to wear a life vest during the part of the ride when we were in much deeper water d/t my personal beliefs to be safe rather than sorry. Social Context: my social role was “child” since I was with my parents which influenced my behavior- in contrast to if I was on a boat with a bunch of girl friends. Cultural Context: to comply with unwritten norms my dad chose to pull his boat up to the farthest spot rather than parking at the closer, more convenient spot. Each client brings their own personal, social, and cultural context which influences assessment and guides treatment planning. Before trying to understand our client’s context, we must first think about our own. Becoming familiar with the multiple context in our clients’ lives will help us to empower them.

D is for D R E A M T E A M .


And no I’m not referring to me and my ☀️, but to what this picture represents in the context of this moment. When you look at this picture you see two seemingly healthy people sharing a meal, but actually I’m pretending to be an OT helping to teach my “client” with visual impairments, dementia, and poor safety awareness how to cut and eat his meal again with the appropriate visual and tactile cues. This was for a project video that my classmate Kris and I did did on our well-mannered patient (my boyfriend) last spring.What you don’t see in this picture is my depression, anger, and anxiety from tearing my ACL literally two days beforehand in my senior recognition track meet which exemplifies how much we don’t immediately see in our patients. If you relook at the picture now you’ll see my long stabilizer brace. However, to make the video seem like a realistic OT/client simulation I tried my best to hide my emotions.

What does this picture have to do with OT month and dream team??
1) SLP: eating and feeding is an ADL but without our speech pathology friends, this fictional client would struggle even more with cognitive and swallowing tasks.
2) PT: without physical therapy this client’s ambulatory and balance ability will decline further; without my PT I would not have a normally functional knee joint again
3) OT: this fictional client wouldn’t have a choice in strengthening his functional ability to perform previously meaningful occupations. Without my OT friends/classmates, I would have forgotten that I was still meant to be in the Class of 2016 and that I could be resilient and practice what we preach to our patients in overcoming an obstacle.
All three of these disciplines are needed! SLP + PT + OT = Rehabilitation DREAMTEAM



The art and science therapists encourage their clients on a daily basis. The art of occupational therapy requires the OT to examine different or creative strategies to create a rich intervention while displaying appropriate empathy and giving encouragement as needed to enhance the recovery or to empower a client. The science of occupational therapy requires the OT to plan Evidence-based, Science-driven interventions while adhering to AOTA’s Code of Ethics.

In this picture, my current Clinical Instructor of my fifth and final Level 1 fieldwork (in an orthopedic/hands OP setting) encouraged me last week by giving me a challenge to do by today. Because of her encouragement and guidance I am now able to (without cheating and looking at my anatomy book) draw the Brachial Plexus out, label all of the nerves, group and name the muscles, categorize common conditions and apply this knowledge. OTs encourage their clients, but OTs can also encourage their coworker or student OTs as well!!

{Brachial Plexus: C5-T1; draw it by remembering 3 Y’s, 2 E’s, 1 X and a long thoracic; helpful nemonic is Reach To Drink Cold Beer for Roots, Trunks, Divisions, Cords, Branches (I actually hate beer..) and for the nerves to remember lateral from medial Most Alcoholics Must Really Urinate for Musculotaneous, Axillary, Median, Radial, Ulnar! }


Occupational therapists design client-centered interventions with functional outcomes in mind! It all starts with listening to what is meaningful for that individual client and moving forward from there.

Functional assessment: OTs observe a client’s behavior in a natural context (shout out to home health) or in an environment that closely simulates the natural context to understand how environmental factors affect performance. We observe our clients performing their normal occupations to determine their strengths and what needs to be strengthened, their needed level of supervision/assistance, and address any barriers that are inhibiting their occupational readiness.
Application: A client who works at a coffee shop as a barista was recently diagnosed with MS. She relates that feels depressed and very fatigued and is worried that she won’t be able to keep up with the motor demands (both fine and gross) that it takes to be a great barista.

G is for GROWING.

m7Did you know that the job outlook for occupational therapy is very high in demand!! Not only has it consistently ranked high on multiple lists of top and recession-proof jobs but it is grrrroooowwinnggg! Idk about you but job security is kind of an important trait when deciding your career path.

Don’t take my word for it! Look up the following sites for yourself! List from AOTA website.
•U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 2016, “Ranking of Best Health Care Jobs”
•TIME Magazine, Jan 2016, “These 12 Jobs Will Grow 30% by 2024”
•NPR/WNYC-TV NBC 5, Jan 2016, “Following Up; Occupational Therapist Shortage”
•Career Alley, December 2015, “Hot Jobs for 2016”
•The Examiner, December 2014, “Top 5 Health Care Jobs for 2015”

H is for HOME modifications.


Home modifications are keeping our baby boomers in their homes as long as possible!
•Currently, only 1 in 6 of these baby boomers have made home modifications that will ensure that they will live safely in the comfort of their own home! •OTs can specialize in home modifications with further education in order to achieve the SCEM or CAPS credentials ~~Specialty Certification in Environmental Modification | Certified Aging in Place Specialist~~•OTs can provide an evaluation in your home to assess your family member’s safety, skills, and abilities and make recommendations and offer solutions to increase accessibility or enhance function within the home environment.

We want your home to work for your individual needs!•Interested in having an OT help you stay in your home, >>>>ask your primary care doc DO/MD<<<< for a referral! Recent medical changes may qualify you for home health services!! Your local home health agency can provide you with a creative OT who is skilled in addressing your needs for home modification. Never heard of a DO???? click here—> MD vs. DO: DO your research


m9  m10

Occupational therapists do everything they can can to make you as independent as possible again!! If making delicious pizzas for your family is a skill {meal prep/cleanup–> Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL)} that is meaningful to you, well we can improve your ROM and endurance and remove any contextual barriers and even give you adaptive utensils if necessary to give you your independence back! IADLs are the activities you do within your home and community!! IADLs include: care of others,care of pets, child rearing, communication management, driving and community mobility, financial management, health management and maintenance, home establishment and management, meal prep and cleanup, religious activities, safety and emergency med, and shopping. OT is so necessary and I think it’s pretty cool how broad this art and science therapy truly is!! Cheers to holistic health-healthy mind and body & this pizza.


How I feel trying to justify my rationale for a group class assignment case study. Mr. Skellie says life would be easier if we didn’t have to back up our intervention ideas with evidence-based practice, but that’d make things too easy (and not skilled)!

Documentation is just one of those things you have to get used to doing a lot of as a healthcare professional to justify your services to insurance!

Justification gets easier with practice and a little creativity! OTs document their evaluations, interventions, daily notes, and more–all to justify why you need our services–and to document your progress.



April 11, 2015 was not how I anticipated my USA Senior Recognition Track Meet competing in the steeplechase to have went!! Tearing your ACL can really throw off your plans! I had my reconstructive surgery during my two week “summer” break between second and third semester of OT school on May 12, 2015. This picture (my mom was cheering/taking action shots) was taken seconds before I landed and unfortunately hyperextended my left knee and tore my left ACL.I was a mixture of feelings that day, but I am rejoicing a year later.

In my physical therapy rehab to restore my mobility, I participated in a lot of kinesthetic activities. OT can also use kinesthetic approaches such as in teaching handwriting to kiddos through Handwriting Without Tears and even with an orthopedic client through kinesthetic biofeedback. Hurray for OT month and for overcoming trials!!

L is for LOW Vision.


Low vision can occur throughout the lifespan! Low vision truly hinders individual’s ability to perform meaningful occupations and/or negatively affect their occupational roles. This is where OT comes in!! OTs believe it or not can work with ophthalmologists (MD/DO)  and optometrists  (OD) on a vision team! Did you know that it wasn’t until 1990 that physicians could refer clients for occupational therapy with a sole diagnosis of low vision!!? Two certifications OTs can receive for low vision include becoming a Certified Low Vision Therapist or receiving a Specialty Certification in Low Vision (SCLV)-formal recognition for OTs for specialized knowledge and expertise with clients in this population. The SCLV is a 5 semester program that practicing OTs can go back to school for aka me after I get a few years into my practice!

M is for MANUAL Dexterity.


M is for Manual dexterity (and for my advocacy blog mOTivatedtoDO ) Manual dexterity is for typing on our computers for our 250350 group projects we have in our last semester of OT school in the classroom. It’s also for Management, Modifications, Motivation, Motor Skills, Metacognition, MultiSensory and MawMaw at the SNF.

 N is for NBCOT.


NBCOT – the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy// in addition to seven semesters of graduate education to get the beautiful “OTR” behind my name, I will take my boards shortly after graduating at the end of the year!! Can’t thank these two lovelies enough for all of their support through it all!

“NBCOT provides a world-class standard for certification of occupational therapy practitioners. They develop, administer, and continually review our certification process based on current and valid standards that provide reliable indicators of competence of the practice for occupational therapy.”

Mission Statement: “Setting the standard for lifelong professional growth, advancement, and practice excellence in occupational therapy.”

O is for OCCUPATIONAL beings.

m16My current apartment complex encourages my occupational role of graduate student by providing me with obscene amounts of coffee for freeeeee.

>>>>To be human is to be occupational!!<<

This is a founding principle of OT! We believe it is through the therapeutic modality of occupations that clients’ functions can not only be restored, but allows them to flourish!! As occupational beings, we each have our own individual needs that must be met to fulfill life’s daily demands! Occupational therapists recognize that the simple activities we do everyday are “occupations” (ADLs, IADLs, Education, Rest and Sleep, Work, Social Participation, Leisure) and our priority is to promote access, enable participation, restore functioning and more!! If you’d like to really dive into how OTs incorporate and perceive occupations a therapeutic tool then view my blog post at OT: the art and science therapy



Performance skills are observable elements of action that have an implicit functional purpose for life’s daily activities! OTs look at a client’s performance skills in order to understand the client’s ability to use one’s body functions and structures to engage in desired occupations. The 3 main types of Performance Skills related to occupational therapy intervention are… Motor Skills, Process Skills, Social Interaction Skills

  • Motor Skills: “Occupational performance skills observed as the person interacts with and moves task objects and self around task environment” (e.g. ADL motor skills, school motor skills)
  • Process Skills: ” Occupational performance skills observed as. Person (1) selects, interacts with, and uses task tools and materials; (2) carries out individual actions and steps; and (3) modifies performance when problems are encountered”
  • Social Interaction Skills: “Occupational performance skills observed during the ongoing stream of a social exchange”. Source: AOTA- OT Framework 3rd ed.

Q is for QUALITY of life.


OTs care about you and hope to use our therapeutic use of self along with our client-centered interventions to help create, promote, establish, restore or maintain your quality of life! We do what we can to help you achieve your goals and participate in what’s meaningful to you!




R is for REGULATION strategies.


Regulating your emotions is a strategy doesn’t come natural for everyone. OTs help our kiddos (and sometimes adults) with poor frustration tolerance, ineffective coping mechanisms, poor social interaction skills etc. learn how to >>>self-Regulate<<< their emotions to encourage age-appropriate behavior.

3 emotional >Regulation< strategies: (may or may not have used one of these strategies during our sand volleyball game)

  • Take Five“: Place your left hand flat on a table. Place your right index finger on the base of your left thumb (anatomical snuff box) and trace your thumb up and breathe in. Trace your thumb down, breathe out. Repeat for the other four digits.
  • Social Story: Create a visual aid through PPT that is catered to the problem areas that the child needs to work on. Make it fun and include lots of pictures and short captions that models appropriate behavior.
  • Calm Down Corner: create a dim lit space with soothing music, several pillows and blankets, soft colored lava lamp, and stuffed animals for your child to go to when he/she needs a moment to calm down



For my last Level 1 I was in an orthopedic/hands setting! All of these clients were affected by some type of orthopedic injury to the shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand (rotator cuff injury, lacerated tendons, nerve damage, carpal tunnel syndrome, mallet finger etc..)They each had their own story -patient centered- and hopes to improve their functional outcomes in order to do daily activities that we often take for granted!

One of the coolest parts of this fieldwork experience was helping create >>>splints<<<< for different clients to prevent contractures, promote a functional wrist, improve position of MCP joints and more!! I also was blessed with a great CI for this rotation. The  bottom right picture is a cheapo version of a resting hand splint I made perhaps for a client who does not have insurance coverage. The idea is to decrease pain and prevent muscle contracture with the simple adaptation of a pool noodle and a strapped band.

T is for TEAM-BASED approach.

m21If you want to become an OT you better get used to being on teams. You need to invest in your team’s dynamics. OTs who work in schools will be on an IEP >>team<< comprised of other rebab/medical professionals and teachers. But what if you are like me and don’t want to be an OT in the schools…?? I envision my first OT job to be in a SNF or in a hospital-based setting. I will not only have to frequently co-treat with PTs or SLPs and communicate with social workers and nurses, but also with –> referring physicians. All healthcare practitioners are important to the team and all deserve to be acknowledged for their roles!

And contrary to popular belief, as an OT you should probably learn that physicians come from two backgrounds: allopathic (MD) or osteopathic (DO).

Most physicians will probably be too nice to correct you if you assume they are MDs, but DOs are a thing people and they are our referral source! In fact, DOs are taught from a much more holistic approach which is truly more in line with OT principles, whereas MDs are taught from a more symptoms based approach–but they are both awesome and are the ONLY types of doctors that can treat, prescribe medicine, and perform surgery on OUR clients.

MDs and DOs receive similar medical education and must pass several board certifications and residencies. DOs receive additional training on osteopathic manipulative treatment which is a more hands on approach to diagnosing, treating, and preventing illness.Be inspired to be team player for the sake of your clients and take some time to learn about the backgrounds of your teammates.


m22Sometimes, we need to lend an extra hand to help out others. OTs understand that if a client has a certain physical disability that causes him to be W/C bound he deserves the dignity of accessibility that doesn’t require him to feel further isolated by wheeling to the back of the store to go through the wheelchair entrance.

Universal design is the correct design choice. Design environments and products usable to all people! When OT makes adaptive equipment recommendations or caregiver education, we place an emphasis on this in order to simplify life for everyone.




This is one of my favorite OT professors and today was my MS2 class’s “going away” party for our Level 2 fieldworks hosted by the MS1’s.

<< OT is versatile because OT is needed and can be found everywhere.>>>

We can work in the “normal” places people assume such as in a hospital or at a nursing home but we can also work in prisons, medical homes, churches or hold in political positions.



W is for WHOLE-person care.

m24OTs are taught from a holistic approach. We believe that our clients are >>not defined<< by their disease/diagnosis/injury. We recognize that every client brings their own story, upbringing, valued, beliefs, and more to therapy. While we envision always performing evidence-based and occupation-focused interventions, quite frankly it is more than that. OTs must provide client-centered treatment that truly takes the Whole person (mind and body) into consideration. While it’s imperative to strive for and to achieve good outcomes, emphasis must be on the person’s goals and needs from therapy.


X is for XENIAL.

m25.jpgI definitely had to look up an “X” word…. anyways OTs are xenial, another word for hospitable, since we serve a highly varied client population and provide a multitude of services. Cheers to my Class of 2016 because we are almost out of the classroom!! Praiseeeee.

Y is for YOUTH.

this is actually my brain

As OTs one of the populations we serve is children and Youth. AOTA notes that children and Youth is actually one of OT’s emerging practice areas. (This picture is obviously for the adult parents, caregivers, and guardians who care for the kiddos for the 95% of time they aren’t in therapy. Also, it’s for higher caffeine consumption for approaching finals and end of the semester projects, yay.)


OT is really cool because we have the opportunity to mentor and serve our communities in places like prisons or in this case-juvenile detention centers-for >>>>Youths who have been incarcerated<<<due to a variety of different crimes. Shout out to my grant group because we are almost done with finalizing our grant that is advocating for (and asking for some moneyyyy🤑🤑) OT services to be provided free of charge to the Youths! We plan to provide Life Skills lessons (care of others, money management, health maintenance)to these Youths since they are experiencing a disruption from their developmental transition to teenage years or young adulthood! Cheers to the future and current pediatric OTs who serve the Youth of our communities! May your ☕️ coffee pot always be hot.

Z is for ZEALOUS

zigzagging around old, beautiful trees


Zealous is a positive adjective that describes a person and is marked by active interest and enjoyment! OTs are the zealous healthcare providers that are known for their creativity in the methods they use when planning client-centered interventions!

Personally, I am a zealous fan of health, fitness, and occupational balance. In the future, I strive to always model healthy, positive behavior for the clients I will be blessed to serve!




Happy OT Month. Until next year.

Stay mOTivated,