Advocacy for Occupatoinal Therapy

Rethink OT Podcast

Transcript of Episode

How many points are we hitting in the next 4 minutes? Three.  So stay with me!

Point #1: The problem.

If you are plugged into social networking at all you are hearing so many people question the profession. Did they make the right choice of becoming a practitioner? Should they bail and go back to school? What do they do now that they lost their job? Will OT be phased out? All valid! Right?  I myself, have lost my job in the past due to the low demands of OT in a specific practice area and geographic location!

Guys, OT won’t go anywhere if we stop talking to each other about how nobody values occupational therapy, and we start advocating to the public about the true identity of occupational therapy!! I have met with great leaders in the industry who all say occupational therapy has a place! We are in the social model and the medical model. We work top-down and bottom-up! The problem? We aren’t doing a very good job advocating!

Point #2: The Plan.

Ok. We have identified the problem. What is the solution? The solution is building a plan to know who to advocate to,  what words to say beyond the typical ‘elevator speech’ we are encourage to develop in school, how to deliver this message, when to deliver it,  and where to deliver it.

You agree, right? You know this is the solution! You this will completely ignite our profession. But, how in the world do I go about beefing up this plan? I hear you! So let me give you some simple starting points:

Who – EVERYONE. Who is in your sphere of influence. Make a list! Do they know what you do? What you truly do because helping people get dressed or making fun crafts with kids? Do they know the topics you studied in school? Do they know the breadth of your knowledge base?

What- Please do not develop an elevator speech with just the phrase ‘we help people do what is meaningful to them.’ Please! For everything that is good and perfect in this world, do not let this be your selling point! Guys, we exist in a bottom-up world! People want to know your competence – Read your practice framework. Pull out 5 sentences throughout the framework that sound legit. Then, begin condensing. But, please don’t stop with meaningful activity! Unfortunately, people just don’t understand how this is rehab!

When- Whenever! You should be talking about what you do and how you do it. What is the justification behind your treatment plans  – believe it or not –  most adults actually want to know the science behind your solution so they understand why they are doing it! Everybody wants to know what’s going on! Are you going to a doctor’s appointment? Give them a printout about occupational therapy! No shame in your game brothers and sisters! Where OT loud and proud and REPRESENT! If you want to save the profession, you gotta use your voice!

Where- As stated everywhere. Everywhere! Have business cards that are just telling people about OT! Business cards are CHEAP! If it is your sphere of influence – they should all know what you do and how it can them!

Point #3: The Execution.

This is a lot right? “Whoa! This girl is crazy OT lady!” Naw – this girl went to school for a very long time and understands the scope and breadth of our profession. I have done a lot of research, I have started my own adult practice, and I have seen first-hand the disparity of knowledge people have regarding OT! 90% of what I do is education! In order to help the people I know OT can help, I must start with advocacy in its truest form. Not to the government, not to my fellow OTs, but to the people.