One Amazing Journey
Being a pediatric occupational therapist is such a rewarding career and absolutely fun! Every day is a new experience and new challenge. Since becoming an OT, I have treated children of all ages, diagnoses, and complications. One area that I really have a joy focusing on is the social emotional aspect of aging and development. This is such a huge part of the pediatric population due to the child developing cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally. There are many components that have to be taken into consideration when treating in the pediatric setting. One child in particular comes to mind when I think about this topic.
Trenton has been a client of mine since October 2013 and our journey has been a great one! He and I have built a great bond during out time together, and it continues to build. He is a very hard worker and is always up for new activities and challenges. He always tries his hardest to meet his goals and to try new things, even if it is out of his comfort zone. One of the areas we work on is sensory, and he has come a long way from when I first evaluated him. Social and emotional regulation is something that a lot of children with sensory issues have a hard time dealing with. This is due to the sensory system not processing information “typically” which in return bombards their system and negative reactions can occur. This can affect his socialization with peers, how he responds to new situations, and also his self-esteem. Trenton and I work through different scenarios that may bring up different emotions and feelings to improve his reactions to new situations. I will ask him hard questions or role play different scenarios to stimulate environments that he may not be comfortable with out in the community. If and when he responds not appropriately to the simulation, we discuss alternative ways to go about the situation and help him through challenges.
Self-esteem is something that Trenton struggles with on a daily basis. One activity in particular was very fun for us to complete together! I had an idea to do a task that focused on social skills, emotional skills, and building self-esteem. These are all goals that he and I work on each week. This activity allowed him and I to write down things that we like about ourselves on a piece of paper then we switched papers and wrote down things that we liked about the other person. Writing about yourself in a positive and confident way is a very difficult task, but Trenton did awesome at it!
Inside the face (pink) is everything that I wrote about myself: things I think I am good at, things I like about myself, etc. Some of the ideas I came up with are: creative, good singer, good at soccer, good at knitting and crocheting, good at softball. When we switched papers Trenton wrote things he liked about me (red); he wrote: I think you will be a good mommy one day, I think your good at being a teacher, I think you are good at drawing, I like your job, I think your smart.
Trenton wrote on the inside of his paper with things such as: good at soccer, nice, caring, loving to pets, good at horse riding. And when I wrote about him I wrote: always up for new challenges, hard worker, very funny, good sport, awesome at soccer, always makes my job fun, always making Mrs. Amanda laugh.
Working with Trenton, as well as all my kiddos I see is a pleasure and he always makes my job as a pediatric occupational therapist very fun and rewarding. For me, I always hope that I am making a difference in not only the children’s life but their families as well. When doing this activity I got to really see how a child perceives me as not only a professional or a “teacher/therapist” but also as just a peer and friend. When coming up with this activity I thought that it would help Trenton build confidence and self-esteem, but in return, it has helped me know that what I do for a living and what I am passionate about is really helping the children that I see; and that’s worth more than I can express.
Thanks for reading JJ
-Amanda Youngs, OTRL