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April is Occupational Therapy Month and at Special Tree we’re celebrating the many ways our Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) help our clients to become as independent as possible in their daily life.

Occupational therapy is an integral part of the rehabilitation process because it focuses on the activities and tasks we do on a daily basis for our self-care, work, and leisure.  Special Tree's OTs and COTAs provide the therapeutic interventions to help our clients perform these daily activities in a more functional, successful, and independent way.   The OT team is involved in every phase of recovery from helping clients and/or their caregivers learn basic tasks like dressing, bathing, and eating, all the way through returning to work, home management, and driving.   In addition to helping clients regain meaningful everyday living skills, OTs and COTAs also specialize in vision therapy and sensory integration therapy to address visual perception and sensory issues that are common after a TBI.

We asked Special Tree's Ursula Kotzabassi to share her thoughts on being an Occupational Therapist.

Why did you decide to become an OT?

I was a college student at Eastern Michigan University and I hadn't chosen a major yet, but knew I wanted to do something to help people. I started investigating different types of therapy professions and found that occupational therapy fit best with my personality and the way I wanted to help people. I talked to a friend whose mother had had a stroke when we were in elementary school and learned about her experience receiving occupational therapy. She had to relearn how to care for herself and her family and went on to live an independent and fulfilling life. After that I decided that I wanted to help other people do the same.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

When people realize they are still capable of doing things for themselves and for others in the face of losing nearly everything. I am excited about my job and the possibilities that exist to help people achieve independence to do the things that they want to and need to do.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from clients?

Try not to take things for granted, life can change in a matter of seconds. Be open, flexible, stay positive and learn to adapt to situations as they change. Growth can come from adversity, but it takes time and the right mindset.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my family and friends: sharing a meal, watching a movie, playing board games or just talking. My second job is co-parenting a loving and rambunctious 3 year old boy, a geriatric great dane, two ridiculously playful kittens and a handful of well-behaved saltwater fish. I'd love to try some new hobbies so if you have a suggestion come find me in therapy!