How did you first hear about occupational therapy?
When I was about 10 years old, I went to my little sister's occupational therapy session. At the time, I became mesmerized by the swings, toys, therapy balls, and the exciting and playful atmosphere her therapist cultivated. Her therapist included me in some of the session, and I am forever grateful because that was the moment I realized I wanted to be an OT! That dream never really changed throughout the rest of grade school and high school, so I officially began my first steps into OT at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as a freshman in their entry-level program.
What influenced you to become and occupational therapist?
Initially, it was witnessing how it impacted my sister and our family's life in such a positive way. While I was young at the time, I could see first-hand the changes, impacts, struggles, and concerns the OT would work through with my family and parents. Additionally throughout high school, I completed many volunteer hours at a Children's hospital. I was drawn to the diversity, fun, and client-centered (not knowing that term at the time) OT session, while all being rooted in science.
What type of setting do you work in, and what does a typical day look like for you?
Currently, I work as an independent contractor in outpatient pediatrics. My favorite thing about being an independent contractor is the diversity it allows in my schedule, so it changes daily! However, it typically starts early morning with my morning routine then a workout at home or at a gym (I teach group fitness classes a few days a week). From there, I travel to daycare's or private schools to see a few kiddos, then finish my afternoon at a clinic or traveling to client's homes! Other days I am teaching for an OTA program at a local university, spending time building my own business, or taking hip hop dance classes :)
You have a strong social media presence sharing about occupational therapy. How did you get started?
Since I was young, I always found joy in creating videos, taking pictures, making slideshows and more. I began building a side online business focused on health and wellness - which truly gave me my initial jolt on creating online content. I quickly realized that I wanted to integrate my passion for health and wellness and OT because life has taught me the importance of filling your own cup before you can pour for others. That is how LG:thefitot was started!
What advice would you give someone looking to start and occupational therapy related Instagram or blog?
Just start! You don't need to have a logo, the best name, or even the best ideas to begin because - I promise you - it is going to change. As you go through life and your career, your content, focus, and ideas will change, and your brand will change with you. Don't let fear or the idea that there are so many other OTs out there stop you - I truly believe there is space and room for all! Also, there are a TON of (free) online brand building, content creation, and business workshops out there - take advantage of them!
What is your favorite thing about being an OT? What do you find most challenging?
My favorite thing about OT is working with the families. Families often come into OT exhausted and feeling out of options because no one can give them answers. It is incredible to work with the families and kids to develop a sense of peace and calmness in the journey and begin to shift their perspective while facilitating growth and development in the child. I would say that this is also the most challenging! OT includes such a diverse range of topics, intervention strategies, theories, and information, that it can often be challenging to discern which path or area to focus on first when a family comes in with a variety of concerns. However, it's all a learning process and I love the challenge.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Professionally, I would love to continue to contribute to this profession in a variety of ways. Whether it is continuing to treat kiddos, teaching, running online programs, researching, mentoring, public speaking, or running my own clinic (or all of the above :) ), I'm open to where this journey leads me!
Quote to live by?
"Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It's your masterpiece after all."
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