Mental health and OT at the OSOT Conference
I stepped into the OSOT conference at the Hilton in Mississauga not sure what I would find. I had my presentation ready and I was excited to see how the OTs in my workshop would respond to my insights of how to use technology in the school setting. And of course, how we could move through the barriers that were put in front of us -- in order to support our clients and help them reach their full potential.
You see the clients I served as an OT in the school setting reminded me of my school days and how I so desperately wanted to succeed. I mostly felt like I was struggling every day. I didn't realize that this struggle would fuel a passion in my work as an OT to the extent that it has.
I decided to attend some workshops that were focusing on servicing children. So I stepped into a mental health workshop. I almost left after thinking this workshop was maybe not for me. But I decided to stay and to my amazement the OTs started to talk about Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficits.
My interest soared -- this was my passion offering support to children with LD/ADHD -- the one that drove my desire to use technology. The OTs reviewed strategies which would support the anxiety that so many children with LD experience (including myself) but the other-side of the coin was supporting the learning to minimize the anxiety. I almost felt like changing my workshop on the spot -- I need to talk about this. I need to tell OTs about their role in helping children to gain skills with their learning.
And even though I was doing this is an indirect way -- I needed to be more specific. I needed this to be a bigger focus in what I was doing. After the mental health workshop, I spoke with the OTs to review my passion for learning differences and what this meant to me. They were stepping out to ensure that OTs were part of the mental health support in the schools and with children in general. It was awesome and their workshop helped me to see that I needed to bring OT and LD/ADHD together in a very clear way.
I will do this. This is my next mission -- because really it's my life mission -- to support children with learning differences.