World Occupational Therapy Day
DATE: 27 October 2020
World Occupational Therapy Day, recognised on 27 October, is an opportunity to promote the many ways Occupational Therapists (OTs) can support people at all stages of life to reach their potential.
Kate Hill is an OT with more than 20 years’ experience, three of which have been at Yooralla, where she has been supporting a range of customers to achieve their goals.
Working predominately with children with disability between the ages of 0-18 years old, no day for Kate looks the same.
“OTs support people with disability in a range of ways, by supporting them to develop their independent living skills and supporting them to be as independent as possible for their age,” Kate says.
“For very young children and babies, it is a lot about monitoring the child to see if they are meeting their developmental milestones. To support this, we provide activities and ideas to support the family to promote development.
“What we do then changes as the child gets older, for instance for pre-school aged children, we would make sure they have the foundational skills to succeed at school, like toilet training or getting dressed.
“Then as they get older and become young adults, that support might change to include preparing simple meals, managing time and public transport training,” she says.
“The role of an OT is very holistic, we look at the life of the person with disability and what interventions they need so they can complete their daily activities independently and fulfil their roles, like being a student or friend.”
Occupational Therapy during the coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the way many of Yooralla’s services operate, including Occupational Therapy.
“We have had to be a lot more creative about providing services and figure out how to continue to best support families,” Kate says.
“Face-to-face sessions are now very limited and when they do happen, we are in full PPE and doing temperature checks,” she says.
“Lots of families have got on board with Telehealth, and we have regular telephone check-ins with family and make sure we stay in touch - giving them ideas of things to do at home and providing them with resources and activities to make sure their therapy goals are ongoing,” she says.
As part of her role as Senior Clinician, Kate supports other OTs within Yooralla, providing them with regular supervision and facilitating various training for them.
A positive aspect to the coronavirus pandemic has been the advantages of facilitating training for OTs using platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
“I would definitely look to utilise these in future, they have made coordinating training for large groups significantly easier, especially when you work across regions,” she says.
Supporting children to develop new skills through OT
Occupational Therapists at Yooralla use evidence-based practice to support children and adults with disability to achieve their goals as a part of their NDIS plan.
For Kate, “working with a child to develop new skills and who is succeeding at different things is very satisfying”.
“Sometimes the little things, like learning how to tie shoelaces or write their name are the most rewarding,” she says.
“It makes them feel more confident and successful in their life,” she says.