Volunteer wanted to assist with my website:

Starting November 2014 I am looking for someone to help me with:

  • Data entry and upload of material to my website and social media accounts
  • Assisting me to make the training videos for my site
  • Assist with running my OTDiscussions workshops
  • Potential for clinical work in future

Skills wise I am looking for someone who has:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Good written and verbal communication skills,
  • Knowledge of OT models and theories,
  • The ability to work autonomously and to time frames
  • Great computer skills in the following:
    • Microsoft Office 2013 (mostly Word, Powerpoint and Excel)
    • Adobe Illustrator / Photoshop (desired but not essential)
    • Academic database searching
    • Zotero (which is essentially the same as EndNote)
    • Ability to use Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr

At the present I am looking for a volunteer for 4-5 hours per week on a weekend afternoon (as I work full time Monday to Friday) and potentially 2-3 hours on a week night (occasionally). The majority of the time it would be working alongside me from my home on the North Shore. Workshops are also located on the North Shore.

I am able to offer:

  • Free Professional Supervision services (if needed)
  • Free Career Advice / Mentoring
  • Free attendance at OTDiscussions workshops
  • Be a referee / provide a reference for your CV.
  • Acknowledgement of your work on my site

If you are interested in this opportunity please email me on sonya@otdiscussions.com


Update: ‘The best occupational therapy on earth’

A few months ago I wrote about a nice man who lives down the road from me and his story of recovery post stroke and the role his OT played in his journey (read original post here).

I have seen the gentleman a couple of times since then when he has popped by to see how I was getting on with my plants and giving me advice on how to not kill them (am a novice gardener!).

Today I came home from working an extra shift to this on my doorstep…

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With a nice note saying that he had some mistakenly given me standard tomatoe seedlings last time and had grown me some mini ones to make up for the mistake (Wow!), he also gave me instructions on how to collect the seeds from one of the tomatoes so I can grow them independently next year…

On reflection he has a great appreciation of Occupational Therapy and our drive to build independence with our clients in their meaningful occupations.

I am now going to show off my gardening prowess with before and after shots of the original plants he gave me… Currently have an 85% success rate with the plants he gave me (again — a novice gardener!)


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Please note the very nicely home-made cucumber plant poles I made too 🙂


Initial Assessments – as a conversation not a quiz

Initial assessments – as a conversation not a quiz:

As a new therapist or a student it can be difficult to conduct flexible / conversational style interviews – this tutorial gives tips and advice to help develop your assessment approach. There are two ways to work through this tutorial – the powerpoint can be used singly or you can listen to the presentation as you work through the handout – choose the method that suits your learning style!

Powerpoint presentation – Initial assessment as conversation not a quiz


#6 Patient stories

Another lovely thing about being an OT – getting to hear the most amazing stories / anecdotes from the people you work with… and having a moment when you hear something that totally revolutionises how you see that person.

A few stories that come to mind from over the years:

An older gentleman in his 90’s told me during an assessment that he had ongoing knee pain, when I enquired further about the onset of the pain and its impact on his occupational performance he reported that it was from an old rugby injury… here is the best bit that blew me away… sustained during a rugby game in a POW camp in Germany after being shot down during the second World War….. WOW! My perception of this gentleman changed and evolved instantly!

Talking to a woman in her 90’s post-stroke, she told me of her daily life and roles within her village – she was the person that looked after all the other ‘old people’ (her words), she cooked and cleaned for others in the village, was a designated driver for those who were unable to drive, knitted jackets and hats for premature babies, ran her church prayer groups, read voraciously… I was blown away now but she kept going… she was also writing a murder mystery book! WOW! Again my perception of this person was instantly changed and my mind blown!

I have worked in a few Secure Dementia Units and Private Hospitals and I loved the times that families / spouses would come to visit and tell the staff stories about the previous exploits of our residents – we had writers, musicians, public servants, policemen, tennis pro’s, dedicated mothers and fathers, builders and mechanics… WOW it always seemed to completely change how we looked at the residents, and give depth to our relationships with our residents…

#5 Learning

Another great thing about being an OT… Learning!

As OT’s we are presented with opportunities for learning each and every day…

In the last 3 working days I have learnt:

  • How to do purl stitch (taught by a patient during a knitting-based therapy session)
  • How to apply Newton’s laws of motion to posture management (that was a hard one to learn!)
  • How to present like Steve Jobs (search for more interesting ways to teach and deliver presentations via a YouTube video)
  • Another method / variation on how to write up a cognitive screening assessment (from reading another therapists notes)
  • About hermeneutics and Heidegger (through post grad study)
  • How to cook scrambled eggs in a microwave (from a patient during a kitchen assessment)
  • How to use Powerpoint’s presenter view (in order to present at an in-service)

My point is this – we are surrounded by opportunities to learn – both formal (courses, articles, post-graduate education etc), from our colleagues in practice, and importantly (and often forgotten) from our patients / clients / consumers.

Think about the opportunities to learn and grow that we are exposed to each and every day in the course of our work – it may surprise you!

I challenge you to think of 2 things you have learnt this week from a formal source / from a colleague and from your patients / clients / consumers!