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Monday, 16 July 2012

The Occupational Therapy Poem

Last year I graduated as an Occupational Therapist (OT) from the University of Pretoria. I wrote this poem for our pledge ceremony at the end of our final year on behalf of the class of 2012. It's not perfect but is still quite special to me because I had written most of it in the first few weeks of my first year at varsity for a presentation on "What is OT?". I had just added the last three stanzas before the oath-taking to reflect back on the past four years. So hopefully it will provide some insight on my most common FAQ; "what do you do....really?" (probably because the link above may have confused you even more...)

Becoming an Occupational Therapist

Depending on what our client’s impairment may be,
We can formulate a suitable activity!
We're along your side to provide some assistance,
But the road to recovery requires persistence.

First we analyze the client’s values and roles,
And then we set out our future goals.
Considering their context is critical too,
But culture limits you to what you can do.

Then we implement, for improvement gained
It is here our objectives must be attained
Whether it’s by listening or by speech
It is our duty to enable and teach.

Splints and orthotics may be of aid;
They're either bought or custom-made.
Different movements require different joints
So activities can focus on certain points.

If you struggle on the playground or in class
In play we challenge you to ultimately pass.
And doing skills involving creativity
Can also help you overcome problems emotionally.

We facilitate participation in group activities,
By giving them roles and responsibilities.
Group discussions, like negotiating,
Must be done by communicating.

An important step is to evaluate
To monitor progress and contemplate
Whether the methods we used were effective or not;
These tests and outcome measures can help us a lot.

Repetition of assessments must be done
To reflect and analyze how far we’ve come.
What were our specific outcomes achieved
And with our goal in hindsight – Did we succeed?

We can all attest that the journey made us strong
The climb was sometimes dark, narrow and long.
It was then, we looked Above and there did find,
Strength and courage for soul, heart and mind.

We cannot leave without giving thanks to say
God sent us these angels* to guide our way
Sometimes we thought them as pure torture
But little did we know they moulded our future.

It's the end of the beginning, a new life we await
We bid you farewell, but our ties won't abate
We stumbled in the dark but sought the light
And now we pledge to fight the fight.

*referring to our lecturers and supervisors