I studied Liberal Arts at The University of Massachusetts Amherst and hold a Bachelors of Arts & Sciences Degree with Certification in Occupational Therapy from American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts 1999. My background in Occupational Therapy has informed my creative process and heightened my awareness in the connection between movement and body symptoms (disease processes). Much of my artistic work is inspired from my experience working in neurology and with aging/dementias. I have been working per diem as an OT since 1999.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health profession whose goal is to help people achieve independence, meaning and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. As an OT, I have worked in the following settings: hospital, home health, outpatient, & skilled nursing facilities. As of 2018, I estimate that I have worked with over 17,750 patients.
I have supervised students and volunteered overseas with Partners for Rural Health is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization based in Maine that promotes access to continuous care and health education in the Dominican Republic. Twice a year they serve over 2,000 patients in 15 rural villages by providing clinical health care, medical supplies and basic instruction in the areas of nutrition and disease prevention, dental health, and hygiene which makes a substantial difference in the long term health and quality of life of thousands of people in DR. I was their first on Occupational Therapist who was on a team comprised of 80 people half being professional Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Osteopaths, Sport Trainers, Teachers, and Physical Therapists, with the other half being students of Nursing and Sports Medicine.
I also have significant experience working with a geriatric population. A future goal of mine is to merge theater play with therapy, specifically to work with early stages dementia and/or Alzheimers through physical theater, somatic work, clowning, and improv. Please see the description of OT and photos of it's the origins below.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY HISTORY & DEFINITION
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health profession whose goal is to help people achieve independence, meaning and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives. OT began to emerge during the 1700's in mental health settings and insane asylums as part of the 'Moral Treatment Movement' and was promoted by Quakers. During the 'Arts and Crafts Movement' in the 1800's OT was further developed, and then officially coined in the 1917 by a team of psychiatrists, social workers, philosophers, nurses, and rehab minded construction builders. After WWI, nurses were trained as 'Reconstruction Aides' working with disabled soldiers and thus validating activity as therapy on a national level. In 1918 Congress passed 'The Solider Rehabilitation Act' and soon followed by the 'Civilian Vocational Act' authorizing federal funds to rehabilitate non service members. After WWII, OT resurged and then during the 'Civil Rights Movement', OT entered the schools, public health, and continued to progress as a primary discipline in healthcare. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Occupational therapy services typically include:
- an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
- customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
- an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.
Today, one can attain an Associate, Bachelors, or Masters in Occupational Therapy. Core curriculum includes: Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology, Kinesiology and Biomechanics, Neuroscience, Creativity, Craft and Activity Analysis, Human Development, Psychology, Theory and Practice in Psychosocial Dysfunction, Practice for Mental Health & Wellness, Theory and Practice in Physical Dysfunction, Biology, Ethics, Group Dynamics, Mind Body Systems Neurologically-Based Function and Dysfunction, Human Movement and Environmental Effects on Everyday Occupations, Occupational Therapy Psychosocial Evaluation and Intervention, Assistive Technology for Enhancing Occupational Performance, Occupation/Identity/Disability, The Behavior and Development of Children, Health Promotion and Wellness, Communication skills for effective practice, Sensory Integration Theory, Ergonomics, Theories of Inquiry and Research Methodology, Qualitative Research for Evidence-Based Practice, Fieldwork I and II, NBCOT Exam and Certification
O.T. Origins below
One interesting story of mine was when I was working as a travel Occupational Therapist at Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans, there I worked with a patient in the ICU for 2 months, an elderly man from Maine (where I was from). Once stable enough he had a medical flight back to Maine. I returned to Maine around that same time, and sure enough, he ended up being a patient of mine again in a Maine rehabilitation center. Small world. (See photo above. Pt's family gave permission to use).
Kelly Nesbitt OTR/L since 1999