Occupational Therapy Month Highlight for Alexis

April is Occupational Therapy Month, and we'd like to highlight one of our occupational therapists, Alexis.

How long have you worked at RPS and which schools do you work with?

This is my second school year with RPS. I work at Bishop Elementary School, Right Fit Middle School, and Rochester Academy for Independent Living (RAIL). I have previously filled in at Bamber Valley and Riverside Elementary Schools. 

Alexis helping a kindergarten student with their worksheetCan you explain what your job as an occupational therapist is?

Occupational therapists (OT) can do so much! We can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, schools, and many more places! We work with people across the lifespan to be able to do their daily activities. We can help in rehabilitation, education, adaptation, and environmental modification to help people be independent in their activities aka occupations!

Occupational therapists are specially trained to look at people and build an occupational profile. These contexts help us better understand and help students. We look at their history, experiences, interests, strengths, responsibilities, challenges, and goals. When we can understand the whole student, we can better help meet their needs for learning. 

I work with students with a documented need for occupational therapy on their IEP, but I also help teachers with problem-solving, equipment, changes in the classroom, sensory strategies, and so much more! I like to see some students in groups so we can help each other learn and participate in fun activities to reach our goals!

Why did you choose to do OT as a profession?

I love to help people! I work at school and in a healthcare setting on my days off. I always wanted to help people do their best and increase their independence. Talking to people is one of the best parts of my job, and I love that I get to do that every day. 

What’s the hardest part of your job?

The hardest part of being an occupational therapist, for me, is explaining what OT really does for people. So much of occupational therapy is doing activities or making changes to the environment that might seem silly, but we are growing skills needed to meet a student’s goals. So much learning and skill development happens during fun activities (no complaints here!). We work hard in these activities to see that skill spread into all aspects of the school day. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Literally, every day has successes! Some days have huge success moments and others have a little less, but even on those days, we are making progress toward goals! I get to witness lightbulb moments with students every day.

What would you like people to know about students who need OT?

Students who have occupational therapy services are hard workers! In every session, these students are working hard to practice their skills to reach their educational goals. 

Say hello to your occupational therapist and wish them a happy occupational therapy month! We have a great occupational therapy department at RPS. They are such hard workers that pour their hearts into our schools!