Flourishing as an OT Practitioner Through Personal Experience with Mandy Chamberlain

Episode Summary

Was there ever a personal experience had a profound impact on you as a practitioner?

In today’s episode, Mandy Chamberlain, MOTR/L, occupational therapist and fellow OT podcaster, shares how an unexpected accident shaped her perspective as an occupational therapy practitioner and instilled in her the importance of family dynamics within the rehab process.

Mandy details how she navigated this experience as both a family member and as a healthcare provider. She also shares pivotal advice that she learned and how it has influenced her as an OT practitioner.

Show Notes

Sarah and Mandy discuss: 

  • Mandy’s sister’s accident
  • Her experience finding her role within her family as a sister/daughter and healthcare professional
  • Recognizing the importance of family dynamics in the rehab journey
  • The tension she experienced during rehab between expectations and reality
  • Her role between the doctors, nurses, therapists, etc and her family
  • The pivotal moment with her sister’s OT
  • Navigating her role from a personal and professional standpoint
  • The ripple effect of traumatic accidents and rehabilitation on families
  • Knowing when and how to make appropriate referrals
  • Advice for therapists working with people & their families who have experienced a brain injury
  • Advice for families and caregivers going through an acquired accident
  • Where her sister is now
  • The one thing she wished she knew during the time of the accident and initial rehab journey
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: Unmet Support Needs of Caregivers and Families in Florida: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3866264/
  • Seniors Flourish
  • If you have gone through anything similar, you can email Mandy at: mchamberlain@seniorsflourish.com

Contact Mandy:

Email: mchamberlain@seniorsflourish.com

Website: http://seniorsflourish.com/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/seniorsflourish

Instagram: https://www.instgram.com/seniorsflourish

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seniorsflourish

Building Positive Foundations Through Collaboration with Connie Hunt

Episode Summary

We can learn so much from collaboration within healthcare. As a speech and language pathologist, Connie Hunt, MS, CCC-SLP learned early on in her career the importance of collaboration between therapists and other healthcare professionals (i.e. speech and OT), with students and supervisors, as well as with the clients and their families. Connie is a firm believer in building positive foundations through collaboration, so therapists can make the largest difference in the lives of their clients, colleagues, and students.

Show Notes

Connie and Sarah discuss: 

  • Importance of collaboration between disciplines
  • The complexity of working in feeding and swallowing
  • Slowing down in this hyperspeed world to address therapy needs
  • Feeding hacks for sensory kids
  • Connie’s path into pediatrics
  • Her advice for students
  • The impact that graduate school had on her outlook as a clinician
  • Students and the lack of preparedness for real world therapy coming out of school
  • Her experience of not feeling supported as a student
  • Supervisors need to take a step back to figure out where students at in that moment
  • Gauging students learning by asking questions as a supervisor
  • Having a student is not about what they can do for the supervisor, it is more about how the supervisor can help the student
  • Building positive foundations for students through responsible clinical supervision
  • Just because you are a good clinician, does not mean that you are a good supervisor
  • Getting feedback about what students like/dislike at other fieldwork sites to guide your site
  • Connie’s book series: Hello Mouth, Hello Hands, and Hello Feet
  • R2D2
  • Resources for Fieldwork Educators:

Buy the Hello Series Books: https://positivefoundationspublishing.com/

Contact Connie:

Email: conniehunt@positivefoundationsforkids.com

Website: http://www.positivefoundationsforkids.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConnieHuntSLP

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/positivefoundations/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/positivefoundationsforkids/

Diverse OT: Leadership and Advocacy for Minorities in Healthcare with Michelle DeJesus

Episode Summary

According to statistics, minorities are underrepresented within healthcare professions. Having grown up with immigrant parents and having to translate for them during medical appointments, Michelle DeJesus, MS, OTR/L has seen first hand the impact this lack of diversity in medicine has on minorities. As a student, she noticed a lack of representation and numerous health disparities impacting both practitioners and clients alike. Now as an OT practitioner, she now uses her experience to promote leadership and advocacy for minorities in all aspects of the healthcare system.

Show Notes

Michelle and Sarah discuss:

Contact Michelle:

Instagram: instagram.com/michelled_ot

Website: michelledot.com

Thinking and Learning Through an Occupational Lens with Brock Cook

Episode Summary

Within the profession of occupational therapy, being a lifelong learner tends to be one of the phrases that comes up time and time again. And it is super important as OT practitioners that we uphold this mindset to continue learning and building our knowledge throughout our career. On today’s episode, Brock Cook and I dive deep into aspects of thinking and learning. We chat about how people learn, building self-awareness, the fear of failure, and how to empower OT practitioners and students to think for themselves. Brock shares how his OT journey has influenced his own learning and how his podcast Occupied continues to spread learning and knowledge for the occupational therapy profession.

Show Notes

Sarah and Brock discuss:

  • His favorite things about OT
  • How his podcast Occupied has impacted his own learning: http://www.brockcook.com/category/podcast/
  • Hero vs Anti-hero theory
  • Importance of understanding complex theories and how they apply to understand people better
  • Self-awareness as a therapist
  • The great coriander debate
  • “Pot Stir Thursday” on MH4OT: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MH4OT/
  • How he came to think about things differently
  • Empowering his students to think for themselves
  • The fear of failure
  • Taking a step back to realize where you are
  • Episode with Sarah’s first supervisor- Inspiration, Sensory Integration and Zen with Roxie Fernandez: https://ot4lyfe.com/1/
  • How being in academia has impacted his own view on learning
  • Where he wants to see the profession of occupational therapy go in the future
  • Brock’s episode with Professor Gail Whiteford: http://www.brockcook.com/024/
  • What Brock has learned from podcasting
  • The episode Brock talks about that pushed him way outside his comfort zone: http://www.brockcook.com/063/
  • List of Occupational Therapy Podcasts: http://www.otpodcasts.com/
  • #OTTalk on Twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottalk

Contact Brock:

Website: http://www.occupiedpodcast.com

Email: brock.cook@me.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/brockcookOT

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/occupiedpodcast

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/occupiedpodcast

Bunnies and Ducks and Llamas, Oh My! with Mona Sams

Episode Summary

Ever incorporated llamas into your occupational therapy sessions before?

Our guest today, Mona Sams, OTR/L, has llamas, as well as a host of other animals that she incorporates into her OT practice. In the interview, Mona shares how she first got interested integrating animals in her OT sessions and why llamas are so effective in therapy. She highlights how she not only has her clients work with the llamas directing them through obstacle courses, but that she also has them do crafts with their hair fibers, thus addressing so many different skills across the board.

Be prepared, Mona recounts a few stories about her clients and animals that are sure to melt your heart.

Show Notes

Sarah and Mona discuss:

  • How she incorporates llamas into her OT sessions
  • What other animals she has at her practice
  • Why llamas are effective in therapy
  • LlamaFest: http://ctcroanoke.org/news/
  • How animals facilitate verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Introducing clients to animals when they are afraid of them
  • The importance of skilled therapy when using animals
  • Link to her research article: http://ot4lyfe.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/llamaOT.pdf
  • How she got interested in using llamas in therapy
  • Using llama hair for crafts
  • How she structures her sessions
  • Other considerations for using animals in therapy
  • The interconnectedness of all animals

Website: http://www.ctcroanoke.org/

Email: creativetherapycare@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CTCMonasArk/

Early Intervention with an OT Mom with Danielle Delorenzo

Episode Summary

What happens when your clinical world and your personal world collide?

Danielle Delorenzo, OTR/L joins the show today to talk about just that. Danielle is an occupational therapist with over 20 years experience working in early intervention (EI). But this time she was not the one conducting the evaluation. Rather she was the parent bringing in her 2 year old son to be evaluated due to concerns with his development.

Danielle shares her journey from navigating EI as a parent, juggling the roles of being a mom and a pediatric therapist, as well as how having a child in early intervention has impacted her as a therapist. She offers up amazing advice from her own experiences to help occupational therapists provide the best care they possibly can.

Show Notes

Sarah and Danielle discuss:

  • Navigating early intervention assessment as a parent and a therapist
  • A blessing and a curse of being an OT going through this process
  • Roles of being a mom, an OT, getting her doctorate, and now being a therapy mom
  • The importance of having a “village”
  • The defining moment that made her seek out help
  • Developmental trajectories
  • Being the first person as an EI OT to tell parents that something is wrong
  • Caregiver dyad and regulation
  • How having a child in early intervention has impacted her as a therapist
  • Parental guilt
  • Being present in the moment through mindfulness
  • Value of working with the parents and families in early intervention
  • Being an expert means being a life long learner
  • Questions she had from the mom side
  • Dealing with people staring at our kids when we are out in public
  • Using video-taping to facilitate therapy and parental education
  • One piece of advice for therapists?
  • Her blog Mornings with an OT Mom: https://morningswithanotmom.com/
  • Her episode on the OT Schoolhouse Podcast: https://www.otschoolhouse.com/episode38

Email: morningswithanotmom@gmail.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mornings.with.an.ot.mom/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morningswithanotmom/

Website: https://morningswithanotmom.com/

A Year in the Lyfe

Episode Summary

Today marks episode 50 of the OT 4 Lyfe podcast! Being that today’s episode is a big milestone, we’re doing something fun to celebrate.

To date, there have been over 50 interviews on the show and they range from a host of interests, backgrounds, and practice areas. We’ve had on occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, OT and OTA students, and a few non-OT professionals because collaboration between professions is super important.

So to celebrate episode 50, we’ll be sharing some clips from some of these amazing guests. The clips were chosen because they really stood out as pivotal aspects within our profession as a whole. They were inspiring and insightful and share glimpses into the all around fantastic people who make up our profession. Thanks so much for being a part of this podcasting journey and I hope you enjoy episode 50!

Show Notes

Mentioned episodes:

If you have any reflections, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. You can find me at my

Email at sarah@ot4lyfe.com

Instagram: @ot.4.lyfe: https://www.instagram.com/ot.4.lyfe/

Twitter: @ot4lyfe: https://twitter.com/ot4lyfe

Facebook: ot4lyfe: https://www.facebook.com/ot4lyfe

Youtube: ot4lyfe:


Living Life One Day at a Time with TaeJun Lee

Episode Summary

A car crash left TaeJun (TJ) with an incomplete C4-C5 spinal cord injury and less than a 5% chance of ever walking again. But with support from his family and friends and his willingness to put in the work, TJ was determined to not let his injury hold him back.

In the show today, TJ Lee, COTA/L shares his journey from accident to recovery and how that led him to the field of occupational therapy. He reflects on how his experience has impacted him as a practitioner and has influenced him towards various interests within the field including working with fall prevention, pain and movement, assistive technology, ergonomics with video gamers, and working with a team of specialists in a healthcare collective to work with dancers.

Through his work as a certified occupational therapy assistant, advocating for disability awareness through his blog, and being an adaptive athlete who competes in obstacle course races throughout the country, TJ truly lives his life to the fullest, one day at a time and works to instill the same mindset for his clients.

Show Notes

Sarah and TJ discuss:

  • His interest in obstacle course racing
  • 9/13/2003- The day of his accident
  • What his life looked like before
  • The extend of his injuries from the accident and then once in the hospital
  • The perspective of going through inpatient care
  • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center: http://dhs.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dhs/rancho
  • Coping with medical professionals, his family, and friends thinking that he might also have a brain injury
  • Getting better one day at a time
  • Why he preferred to go to physical therapy over occupational therapy
  • Progression of his recovery, sensation, and movement
  • His willingness to work and fail in order to make progress in therapy
  • Spent about 5 months with little to no movement
  • Overcoming the trauma and the injury
  • Transitioning to going home
  • Continuing his therapy and rehabilitation on his own
  • His path into becoming a COTA/L
  • How his accident and personal experience with therapy has influenced him as a therapist
  • Finding a job with a disability
  • Recognizing his physical limitations and using other ways to manage his treatment sessions
  • His progression of interests in fall prevention, pain, kinesiotaping, movement, soft tissue, technology and apps, assistive technology, ergonomics of video gamers
  • Importance of collaboration
  • His healthcare collective
  • His blog- One Day at a Time 365: http://www.onedayatatime365.org/

Connect with TJ:

Email: taejun.lee@gmail.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/teejaylee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taejunlee

Twitch: Twitch.tv/jeetsu

Sensory Integration and the Transformation From Clinic to Home with Laura Petix

Episode Summary

People are sensory beings and all day everyday our bodies are hard at work processing the sensory stimuli that exists in our world. Some of us are sensitive to sensory input and may shy away from certain types of stimuli, while others might crave input and go out of their way to seek it out. Problems within the sensory systems occur when people have difficulty processing and integrating the information which leads to negative effects on how people function within their daily lives.

Laura Petix, MS, OTR/L joins the show today to talk about all things sensory. She shares her role as an occupational therapist working within a sensory gym and the importance of educating parents to explain what sensory integration is and how it affects development. We dive deep into how to bridge the gap between providing therapy in a sensory clinic and how best to facilitate carry over for the clients at home, school and in the community.

In addition to her work as an occupational therapist working in pediatrics, Laura also shares her personal journey as a mom with a child who has sensory needs and how this has impacted her practice. To hear more from Laura, you can follow her @TheOTButterfly.

Show Notes

Sarah and Laura discuss:

  • Her favorite weekend occupation
  • The lack of lunch breaks as a pediatric OT
  • My secret to hot lunches on the go: https://amzn.to/3212ums
  • Laura’s favorite food
  • Our sensory quirks
  • How she explains sensory processing to parents
  • Facilitating parents to be validated with their feelings
  • The importance of education for the caregivers in order to carry-over techniques at home
  • Bridging the gap between working in the clinic environment and home or school
  • Using the just right challenge for the kids and when providing strategies for the parents
  • How she structures her sensory treatments
  • Following the child’s lead
  • Celebrating the small wins
  • Her path into OT
  • Her journey with sensory difficulties with her daughter
  • How she navigates being an OT and a mom
  • The impact of being a parent of a child with sensory needs on her practice as an OT
  • Advice for therapists
  • What is the meaning behind the name The OT Butterfly?
  • Teachers Pay Teachers- The OT Butterfly: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Ot-Butterfly
  • Classroom Sensory Strategies Guidebook: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Classroom-Sensory-Strategies-Editable-Guidebook-for-Teachers-4704627

Instagram: https://instagram.com/theotbutterfly

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theotbutterfly

Website: https://www.theotbutterfly.com