J is for the Jack of the Trade

I heard this at a conference one year and it has stuck with me ever since.

Many times people look at us as occupational therapy practitioners and think that we know how to do everything. With our training, we can work with babies on feeding difficulties, for example, or we can work with school-aged children on their handwriting, young adults on life skills, and older adults on on bed mobility and transfers after a hip replacement.

We can help people with woodworking, sewing, driving, cooking, playing tennis, child rearing, putting on make-up, eating, sexual activities, bathing, golfing, horseback riding, you name it, an occupational therapy practitioner can help you with it.

From this statement, it sounds like we can do it all, like we are a jack of all trades. But upon reflection, there have been many times that I have helped a client with an occupation that I am completely unfamiliar with. It is not that we are a jack of all trades, but rather a jack of the trade.

We know how to do activity analysis and break down tasks to assist our clients to be able to successfully complete them. We know how to problem solve to find solutions to challenges our clients face in participating in their meaningful occupations. We can look at any barrier and figure out away around it.

So what do you think? Are we a jack of all trades or the jack of the trade?

The ABCs of OT was created by Shannen Marie. For more #otmonth fun, follow along to see what the rest of the alphabet has in store.

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