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Career Story: Occupational Therapist In A Public School District

Occupational Therapist In A Public School District

Job Title: Occupational Therapist

Type of Company: I work for a school district in suburban Boston

Education: BSOT, University of New England

Previous Experience: I worked for 10 years as an OT in inpatient psychiatric units, and now I work in education

Job Tasks: I am work with children who are having difficulty with the regular education curriculum. I work on sensory processing issues, motor skills and a lot of handwriting. Occupational therapy in the schools is a very fast moving, dynamic job. In a given day I could work with up to 20 students. There are also paperwork and team meeting requirements. As a profession, occupational therapists work in industry, with people with physical or emotional disabilities, with people with injuries, in nursing homes, and in hospitals. Students receive education and training to be able to work in any of those industries.

In psychiatry, Occupational therapists work on helping patients learn how to manage their lives outside of the hospital. Many occupational therapists use activities and crafts to teach life skills.

In schools I might have a small group of children who are not able to hold their pencil properly to write and draw. By teaching them how to hold the pencil and make the letters, they are able to participate in their education. Another small group of students might have to learn how to regulate their energy level so they can pay attention in classes, I would take them aside and teach them strategies to help them pay attention better.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is when a student is able to do something that they didn't think they could. The worst part of my job is the combination of paper work and administrative meetings. I would be very happy just working with the students all day long, but unfortunately without the paperwork, there would be no way to report the gains the students have made.

Job Tips:
1. Learn something new every day. No two days are the same in OT

2. Choose your internships carefully it is the best way to learn about the settings

3. Use the expertise of colleagues in the field - both new graduates and senior Occupational Therapists because their experiences will enrich your practice.

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