Five Ways to Recognize the Child of an OT
Occupational Therapists spend their days helping patients improve and engage in quality of life activities. OTs typically don’t just focus on a specific problem for a patient. Instead, they are trained to consider a patient’s entire environment as part of a holistic approach to help them participate in daily living. OTs are highly educated but also have certain traits that allow them to be successful in their job. Let’s see if we can recognize the child of an OT based on some of their personality traits.
One day as you are walking through the park, you see a group of children huddled together getting ready to play a game. An older child is standing up in front of the group and rapidly explaining the rules of the game. Every few sentences, one of the children further explains some of the rules in simpler terms for those who aren’t understanding. That child translating the rules into simpler terms for the rest of the group is probably the child of an OT. A good OT has to be able both listen carefully and also explain things to their patients. They also work with a lot of children and have experience in breaking down complex thoughts and statements into terms that the child can understand. Those exceptional communications skills will be something they naturally pass on to their own children.
Have you ever noticed children playing with something and it inevitably gets stuck in a tree? Watch the children as they try and figure out how to get it down. Usually, one of the kids will start throwing things up into the tree to try and dislodge whatever is stuck, while a different child takes a step back with a hand on their chin as they peer up into the tree. Soon after, the pondering child will spring into action and bind together a couple of sticks with their shoelaces. They then march over to where the toy is stuck in the tree and calmly poke it with the long device they created until it falls down. That problem solver is definitely the child of an OT. An OT is faced with a variety of problems every day and has to work quickly and creatively to solve them. No child of an OT would chaotically and randomly start chucking things up into a tree to solve a problem.
You are having a backyard birthday party for your child and their friends. After the hot dogs and mac and cheese are devoured, you start picking up the paper plates and half-full cups of soda while the children head right back to playing a game. Most of the children have gone back to playing, but one child hangs back and starts helping you with the cleanup. Even after telling them they are welcome to go back and play, they stay and help until it is finished. It is a pretty good bet that the child with the extremely helpful nature is the child of an OT. OTs are always at the ready to help their clients no matter what the challenge is that they are trying to overcome.
On a bright, sunny day you decide to spread out a towel on the beach and read a good book. Nearby, you notice a group of children working on building a sand castle. As you watch, you notice that there are four children and only one bucket. Three of the kids are arguing over who gets to use the bucket. The fourth child is calmly working on the castle without using a bucket while also trying to defuse the tempers that are flaring. Eventually, the child works out a schedule for the others to share the bucket while taking turns. The child with extraordinary patience has an OT parent. OTs are used to navigating difficult situations with their patients and also have to have the patience to understand that progress doesn’t happen overnight for some of their clients. It may take months or years for progress to be visible, and a good OT will have the patience to see it through.
At the local park, you happen to pass by a children’s ball game and decide to have a seat and watch a few innings. In the dugout, one of the players is crying because they just struck out with a runner at third base. As you watch, you see another player come over and give them a pep talk about how they will have another chance and how the team is counting on them, etc. After a minute or two, the sad player has stopped crying and is cheering on their teammates. Sure enough, the very next inning the player who had struck out hits a perfect drive into the outfield for a base hit. There is no question at all that the player who was enthusiastic and able to motivate the other to overcome a failure is the child of an OT. Patients will get frustrated, depressed, even angry and a good OT has the skills to encourage and motivate them to continue working toward getting better.
What traits do you think best define a good Occupational Therapist? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or tell us on our Facebook page.