Q&A with Allison Amole, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist in Broomall, Pennsylvania
Allison Amole is a pediatric OT with a focus on sensory integration dysfunction. She received her master's in occupational therapy from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Allison works at Theraplay in Broomall and has been an employee there for almost two years. She describes her job as an OT as "dynamic" and says, "It is really rewarding to watch children succeed!
Q: What motivated you to become an occupational therapist in pediatrics?
A: I always knew I wanted to work with children and I was very drawn toward the health field. I have always worked with children—from babysitting to work at summer camps, and I have always enjoyed working with little ones! I just happened upon OT, and thought it sounded very interesting. Occupational therapy seemed like something that would utilize a variety of skill sets, which I thought seemed exciting and challenging.
Q: Does the facility you work for, Theraplay (Broomall), offer any special services?
A: Theraplay Broomall is a smaller office within the larger company of Theraplay, Inc., which provides occupational, physical, and speech therapy focusing on children from birth to 21. All therapists will educate parents at the end of the session to aid in carryover of skills at home. Therapists will also join in marketing and go out to inform doctors and other healthcare professionals on what is done at our facility. Occupational therapists offer special programs (i.e. Therapeutic Listening), to supplement the therapy that is happening in the clinic.
Q: What's it like working at Theraplay?
A: Theraplay is always exciting! There is a lot of change and movement; everyday is different. We utilize a team approach, so there is always the opportunity for collaboration and discussion on various clients, diagnoses and issues.
Q: When and how did you start at Theraplay?
A: I started working here on May 10, 2010. I found out about Theraplay through an online search.
Q: Typically, what are your day-to-day responsibilities as an OT at Theraplay?
A: With this schedule I have the availability to treat eight different children each day. Children are treated for one hour, on the hour, with time left at the end of the session for parent discussion. During down time, we help clean and organize to keep our space nice. We have the opportunity to discuss and collaborate with other members of the team, as well as conduct research to help keep us on top of the most recent findings. We take time to prepare for our sessions so we can provide both children and parents the best information, assistance and therapeutic intervention possible!
Q: What types of diagnoses do you encounter most frequently?
A: We mainly see children on the autism spectrum and with developmental delays. Some children require assistance with fine motor skills, sensory processing skills, social skills, or with general daily performance skills.
Q: Can you share a motivational story about your profession?
A: I treated a child who needed assistance with grasp due to a poor grip on the pencil and pain that stemmed from improper grasp. I helped him for four weeks, sending him home with adaptive equipment and exercises to aid in continued success at school. I received an e-mail from him the other day saying he no longer required assistance from the gripper he was sent home with! I was so thrilled to hear that he made such great strides in such a short period of time!
Q: Are there other areas of interest for you as an OT, either clinically or educationally, that you plan to pursue?
A: I am very interested in the processing of sensory information, so I plan on pursuing and attending conferences that will assist in my gaining knowledge on this specific area. I am also interested in visual processing and its effects on daily, functional performance.
Q: What are the greatest challenges you face working in pediatrics?
A: Working with children requires a lot of energy, flexibility and enthusiasm. Children easily pick up on the mood of the therapist, so it is helpful to keep calm and collected in challenging times.
Q: What do you like and dislike most about working with children?
A: I love the spontaneity and excitement that comes when working with children! Everyday is different—you never know what is going to happen! I also love to see and hear how children experience the world, as it is so unique for each child. I find it most challenging to work with children when they are acting out or disinterested in what is being presented to them…but that is what provides a good challenge!
Q: Are you currently involved with any research projects?
A: I am not currently involved in any research projects, but I did do research throughout my senior and graduate years at school, and I really enjoyed that work. I did personal research on the use of yoga in therapeutic practice, and would like to pursue more research on this in the near future.
Q: Do you feel that the role of occupational therapists has changed over recent years?
A: I do believe that the role of the occupational therapist is always changing and always will be. Our profession is very in tune to changes in technology, society, the environment, etc. I feel as though this keeps us in touch with our changing world, and people respond well to our fluidity and flexibility.
Q: What do you feel is of the greatest concern to OTs today?
A: I think the biggest concern for OT is continued exposure so that people are aware of what occupational therapists do and how they can be of help to people at all stages of life, with all degrees of ability.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: It is really rewarding to watch children succeed! I love feeling as though I have helped both children and parents in making changes and a difference in the day-to-day functioning of a child.
Q: How do you think working with children is different than working with adult patients?
A: The occupations of children and adults are very different, so treatment is focused in very different ways. Adults require a more straightforward approach, where children require a playful approach. But, the root of OT remains the same: it is essential to respect the clients, to look at them holistically and to help them to achieve their personal level of independence.
Q: What advice do you have for others thinking of entering the pediatric specialty?
A: I think the best piece of advice is to not take yourself too seriously. When working with children it is helpful to keep things fun, flowing and flexible. It is nice to allow them to lead you in play—you never know what adventures may come about!
Q: How has working in pediatrics allowed you to grow professionally?
A: I have learned a lot about myself in terms of patience and how I handle certain situations. It has also been a great exercise in respect. Finding the good in all children and embracing that can be challenging, but is extremely rewarding in the long run!
Q: What is the most important thing you've learned in your career so far?
A: I think everyday I learn, and am reminded, to truly respect others. It is important to keep in mind all of the factors that influence a person on a daily basis. When working with children, you don't work with just the child—the parent is also an essential piece of the equation. I feel I have learned, and will continue to learn, how to make occupational therapy a profession that others can understand and hopefully come to value.
Q: If you could sum up your job in one word, what would it be and why?
A: Dynamic! Every day is different and full of new experiences! The schedule at Theraplay is fast paced and keeps all therapists on their toes due to the flexible schedule we maintain. It is very fun and there is never a dull moment!
|Short Link: http://www.news-line.com/?s185108|
comments powered by Disqus