Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide in our hearts as well as all that we bring into the open, for nothing whatsoever, be it on earth or in heaven, remains hidden from Allah. {Quran, 14:38}


OT Month

When I was 17 graduating from high school I did not know what field I wanted to pursue. I kind of wanted to be a teacher, physical therapist and psychologist all at once. At a college fair I learned about Occupational Therapy. It was exactly what I wanted. Alhamdulilah, I graduated with my ASc., took the boards and began working with my license 2 years later at 19. Having worked for a few years plus the experience I wanted to purse my BSc. in it. I know that Allah/God placed me in this direction to show and teach me some of the most important lessons of life. Almost 10 & 1/2 years later I am still being taught that the differences amongst people are huge in every detail of living. Truly no two people are the same, and yet everyone has circumstances that are designed to be reflected upon. Being an occupational therapist humbles me, and reminds me that everyone has challenges in life, but that the ones who seem most content and at peace with themselves are those who are grateful, Muslim or not. Allah has put me in positions of evaluating many elders along the years who are physically and mentally incapable of everything..with them my time is focussed on family intervention and things like positioning and splinting to prevent further deformity or bed soars. Allah has put me in the faces of children who are severely handicapped with cerebral palsy with a role of teaching their mothers how to feed them in the easiest way. Allah has placed before my eyes a mother in her 20's with 3 small children, who got into an accident and lost both her legs. I was left to teach her how to get around in her own home with adaptive equipment. Allah has showed me people with significant schizophrenia at a state facility, and I had a goal for that 40-something year-old man to perform money management skills adequately with proper social skills with supervision; oh and another 45 year old man who was living in a nursing home because of Multiple Sclerosis...yup for the rest of his life. My question is this: how can someone see all these things and not be awake to the power and glory of Allah?? Everytime I get stressed out about something stupid, I try remind myself of these incidents. I have no right to be stressed!!! SubhnaAllah. I pray that my work in OT is accepted by Allah. Because at the end the REAL paycheck granted by Mercy, in the Hereafter, is what really counts. Below is what OT is all about. I adapted it from the link that you'll find by clicking the title of this post above. I know the differences can get confusing and often times it's difficult to distinguish between who's doing the physical therapy vs. occupational therapy. I'm the OT with an "O" & I work lots with those with the "P"! So, for whatever it's worth or not worth(!)... April is OT Month..

The person who needs occupational therapy could be your father or mother facing changes because of aging. It could be your child, frustrated with being unable to do the seemingly simple things the other children at school can do. It could be you or your spouse coping with illness or the results of an accident. It could be anyone who, for whatever reason, can't do the things in life they want or need to do because of a chronic or sudden change in functional ability.

Occupational therapy is therapy based on performing the meaningful activities of daily life (self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction), especially to enable or enhance participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning. Occupational therapy is for individuals of all ages-to improve skills that help them perform daily tasks at home and at school, at work and at play.

Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals. Their education includes the study of human growth and development, with specific emphasis on the social, emotional and physical effects of illness and injury. They help individuals with illnesses, injuries, certain conditions or disabilities get on with their "occupations" of living.

Occupational therapy is a unique profession that considers the whole picture when it comes to a person's treatment including the individual's abilities, the task to be performed, and the environment in which the task takes place.

In a team of healthcare specialists, a surgeon, for example, will operate on your injured knee. A physical therapist will devise a series of exercises to help the knee heal properly with a maximum range of motion. An occupational therapist will ask, "What do you need your knee to do? What activities do you want to do, so you can adapt (the way you walk, drive, move around at home, etc.) to that knee," thereby determining the right treatment for keeping you mobile and an active participant in your own life.

Children: About one-third of occupational therapy practitioners work in school systems, pediatric hospitals, and health care facilities helping millions of children. This places OT practitioners on the frontlines of information about child health and wellness. Within the school system, occupational therapy helps children facing physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges that affect their school performance, socialization, and health. School-based occupational therapy assessment and intervention focuses on certain areas: Activities of daily living: caring for self-needs such as eating, dressing, and toilet habits. Education: achieving in the learning environment. Play: interacting with age-appropriate toys, games, equipment and activities. Social participation: developing appropriate relationships and engaging in behavior that doesn't interfere with learning or social relationships. Work: developing interests and skills necessary for transition to community life after graduation.

To find out how your child can receive occupational therapy through school, The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) has a good reference document that provides detailed information: The American Occupational Therapy Association offers Tip Sheets for Consumers to help you cope with specific medical situations facing your child.

Adults: Occupational therapists perform a variety of services for individual adults, such as rehabilitation therapy after a work injury or accident. Occupational therapists also work in consultation with employers and community based organizations on a number of fronts, from program and facility design to day-to-day operations. Occupational therapists serve as advisors to manufacturing and service companies in areas covering wellness, ergonomics, and rehabilitation. Community organizations, government agencies, even construction companies confer with occupational therapists to develop programs to meet the needs of specific populations in the area of community mobility, wellness, facility design, and universal accessibility. The American Occupational Therapy Association offers Tip Sheets for Consumers to help individuals cope with specific medical situations, and to determine how an occupational therapist can help improve wellness and accessibility in the community.

Elderly: Nearly one-third of occupational therapy practitioners work with older adults. They perform many types of activities, employing many types of therapies, with the overriding goal of helping older adults regain or maintain a level of independence that will allow them to age in place for as long as possible. Occupational therapy has been proven effective for seniors living with various medical conditions or recovering from surgery. In addition to working with individuals to increase strength or regain important life supporting skills, occupational therapists work throughout a community, counseling families, local governments, and community groups to ensure that each is doing what it can to help older adults maintain their independence.


At April 03, 2006, Anonymous Um Ibrahim said...

beautiful story, and wonderful info too. The one question that comes to my mind with OT is a female working with a male patient or a male working with a female patient within the Islamic law. I'm not sure what the ruling is on that. Obviously since you're doing it then it must be fine but if you could clarify that it would be useful for other Muslimahs thinking about this career.

At April 03, 2006, Blogger SUHAA said...

thats a real good point & exposure to sights needs to be kept at a minimum especially when having a goal of getting a patient to be more independent with dressing or even toileting. it comes down to judgement and analysis, if an elderly man is safe enough to be left at the side of his bed then i can draw the curtain, if his balance is off and i have a goal set for him for personal private hygeine sometimes..i have to help if it is urgently needed to maintain safety..but if he can wait..then i have him with an elderly guy in his 70's or 80's i have that flexibility. what makes it crucial to step back is if a guy is younger, i relay my assessment in all areas of his mobility in the most modest and straightforward way i can, and if there are areas that need to be addressed in an OT care plan i skip it..and have someone else do it by docummenting "needs to be further assessed" or NT-not tested. and someone else will get to it.

Another thing to keep in mind though, that people when they get sick, they get vulnerable and the last thing one thinks of is ill thoughts. so its not only important for a female health care worker to guard her modesty, but also to dignify the person in front of her the best way she can & male or female..
some older women need help snapping their bras and dont mind the help while others need it too but feel embarrassed..either way every person is so different.
working with a man who is brain injured non-verbal for splinting purposes let's say is not the same as working with a cognitively intact young man of the same age who is paralyzed and wheel-chair bound. every case has its own boundaries, and the way i go about it is to ensure as much dignity through modesty as is allowed.

i hope that makes sense..
may Allah guide us all..

At April 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At April 09, 2006, Anonymous ausOT said...

yay for OT!! (and great explanation of it!)


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