By Gia Tate, OTR/L, CMH Occupational Therapist
Although I have only been working at CMH for three months, I have 27 years of experience in the field of occupational therapy. My draw to occupational therapy was the holistic focus on independence and participation in life skills.
Occupational therapy is a profession that directs person-centered treatment and care. We allow the patient to not only participate but direct the focus of care and help them establish the goals that will assist them in recovery and independence.
One of my favorite occupational therapy stories is when I was working with a gentleman who had a stroke, which affected his right dominant arm and hand. The man wanted to return to riding his street tricycle.
The patient was told at some point in his recovery that he would never be safe to ride his tricycle on the street again. Given that this was the client’s main goal, we diligently worked to gain function in his right hand. Being optimistic, I contacted a bike repair shop, which was able to move the brake from the right to the left. We slowly worked on the patient’s control to effectively steer and operate the brake from the left. Five years later, he is still joyfully triking on the streets in his small town in Oregon.
My favorite thing about occupational therapy is how creative we can be and that we focus on returning a patient back to the things they love. As a person with highly functioning autism, it gives me great pleasure to help others, especially those on the spectrum, so they can achieve their full potential and live a joyful life.
My full life includes enjoying kayaking, writing poetry, photographing the lovely Pacific Northwest on walks, and spending time with my son, pug and three cats.
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