Meet our OT student, Dan!

Brother Andre's has a lot of wonderful staff and volunteers. We also have some unique programs: Art classes on the last Monday of every month and Central Catholic students and Bocce on Wednesdays. But one of the best programs involves the Occupational Therapy (OT) students. Because we have a full-time Occupational Therapist on staff (Bridgette), we get to have a lot of students do their fieldwork here! And they’re a big help to the employees.

Emma was our first OT student, and ever since- it's been great. We have had OT students from many different colleges. I think it's really cool to have them here. Their input is often varied and always helpful.

The latest student is Dan, and I got the chance to speak with him about all things OT. My first question was "How did you become interested in OT?" His answer was very wholesome and kind. Dan volunteered in a Special Ed classroom and his curiosity peaked because he saw sooo much opportunity for innovation and growth. Now, Dan is on the road to becoming an official OT, and he couldn't be more excited.

He is learning a lot here at Brother Andre's and says that we are a very unique OT situation. I totally agree with that statement; I think BA's would be a happy and unique place to practice OT. I mean there are so many different tasks to explore, such as checking customers out, helping cooks in the kitchen, and maintaining the tables. Who would ever think that OT would be needed at a coffee shop, but yet, here we are!

I wanted to know what Dan's favorite 'helping' tasks were and he had two. He likes to bake with Nick. (I can totally see why baking is a favorite, who wouldn't want to create delicious cookies?) Another teaching moment Dan enjoys is cleaning the bathrooms with Tim. Dan told me that he has a plan when going into a dirty room. He works super hard, gets it clean, and then sees it sparkle.

Dan has some thought-provoking career goals. He wants to become a Hand Therapist. Actually, a Hand Therapist specializes in the whole arm. For example, if someone broke an arm or wrist, Dan would work with them to get everything back to full function. I think that's just one of the intriguing areas within OT.

The Occupational Therapy profession is fascinating because there is so much need for it. OT includes daily human routines all over the world. There's OT in the simplest tasks, such as brushing teeth, combing hair, and in eating and swallowing - how amazing is that?

Dan told me that there are still some improvements he would love to see in his profession; he wishes that Occupational Therapy would focus more on mental health. I think that would be a great idea! Personally, I would love to see people talk about mental health and disability, maybe Dan and I can get the conversation going.

Occupational Therapy is soo important in our daily lives and in this big world. I'm glad there are people like Dan who want to expand the limits of OT. Brother Andre's is really lucky to have him!