Hi! I thought you might want to know a little something about me, the person who started this forum. I’m Joan Warren, an occupational therapist, or OT for short.
Before I knew what OT was, I was an OT at heart. I remember as a small child that I noticed when people (and critters) around me hurt, or felt afraid, or seemed to need someone by their side. I surely didn’t always know how to best respond, but I recall seeing it, feeling it, and wanting to respond in some helpful way.
Before I knew what OT was, I stumbled through the world not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. Nothing seemed right. None of the hats I tried on fit. I tried the menial jobs I could get without a college degree–pumping gas, checking groceries, cleaning houses and keeping books. I went into ministry training and learned to effectively minister to people recovering from addictions and dependencies. I worked hard for many years to improve my personal health and effectiveness in all of my roles. None of this time was wasted, but still, I hadn’t yet found the “just-right fit” for me in this world.
When my turn for college finally came (in my late 30’s), I learned about OT from the guidance counselor at school. “Go and observe some occupational therapists, Joan, I’m pretty sure you’ll find a good fit there.” She had given me several tests, most notably the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, to help me choose a path of study. Nothing in the computerized career testing she used seemed just right, so she’d pulled the idea of OT as a career for me out of her personal inventory of awesome knowledge. I went to observe. She was right.
Five years and countless sacrifices later, I entered the best profession on earth. . . for me! I am an OT. I absolutely love working with people to help them find what they need to function to the best of their ability. I love that we OT’s are equipped with the ability to assess the entire situation and then facilitate our clients’ acquisition of whatever it is they need to get from stuck to free! I feel no deeper satisfaction than realizing my client is now able to feel and be able.
It’s hard to believe that, as of this writing, I’ve been an OT for 16 years. I’ve worked in inpatient and rehab hospitals, a burn unit, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient rehab centers, school systems, home health and natural environments. I know, that’s a lot of places in 16 years; sometimes I worked a couple of jobs at once! I’ve worked with all ages, but my primary focus has been in pediatrics. For the last seven (or so) years, I’ve had my own small business, seeing children ages 0-3 in their natural environments. This has been my richest experience, owing to the fact that I work with the child and entire family, and often extended families and daycares too, and I can help that child’s family be empowered, aware and equipped for their special role in that child’s life. I love interacting with babies and children, making therapy fun, and reinforcing week after week that they are wonderful. I love building trusting relationships with the families I work with, and encouraging their personal health, development and even spiritual connections. I love knowing that child will have a family that can help him or her overcome any obstacles.
And now, as my body begins to creak from years of “rolling on the floor laughing” with babies, I’m approaching a time where I’m hoping to spread this fun-spirited therapy beyond my arm’s reach. Will I mentor? Teach? Find a position in community leadership? I don’t know right now, but I do know that I love to write, and having blogged on a personal level for several years now, I find the idea of OT Interactions intriguing.
I’m looking forward to seeing this blog flourish with knowledge, experiences and insights from awesome people everywhere. Experts say ‘write what you know,’ so now I’ll be writing about OT, and interviewing families who have children with special needs, other therapists, teachers, community leaders, specialists and professionals. I’ll be inviting guest bloggers and re-blogging good posts I find around the net.
So, that’s your brief introduction to me, and here are some pictures so you can see me with my family, and some of the other things I love to do. Yes, that’s me, the blonde/brunette/redhead (pick your year). My core family includes my husband and his two now-grown girls, our granddaughter (whom we co-raise with her mommy), and my daughter (now an author and life coach, you can find her book and follow her on The Open Bench), and her husband and now-grown kids. Pictures tell more than words!
Nice to meet you, hope you’ll join me.
Joan T. Warren, MHS, OTR/L
FUNctional Kids Therapy, LLC
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