Guide Dogs Occupational Elly in the client kitchen

To celebrate National Occupational Therapy Day, we sat down with one of Guide Dogs Queensland’s Occupational Therapists, Elly, to chat about the very busy and very rewarding life of an OT.

The role of an Occupational Therapist is diverse and different day-to-day, but it boils down to assisting an individual to live independently and safely.

For Elly, being an Occupational Therapist is all about helping people and seeing their reactions when they do something they didn’t think they could do.

“My favourite part is when you teach someone something and they turn around with this look of amazement on their face and say ‘oh my gosh I never thought of doing it like that!’.” Elly said.

“Those situations occur pretty frequently too – people being amazed by their own capabilities.”

Like many people, Elly assumed that Guide Dogs only trained Guide Dogs for blind and vision impaired Queenslanders, but since joining the Guide Dogs family in April, she has played a vital role in helping people to improve their independence and confidence in a variety of different ways.

“There’s such a wide variety of conditions and interventions and you can help people do almost anything,” she said.

“So many people assume that people with vision impairments can’t do things, but the other day I taught a client how to carve a roast chicken and she did it better than I could have.”

In her role, Elly works in clients’ homes, schools and on-site at Guide Dogs Queensland, assisting individuals to develop skills that enable them to live the lives they want to.

“It’s highly individualised. We look at each person, their routine and their specific goals and help them to achieve what they want. It could be anything from adjusting the lighting in their homes or teaching them alternate techniques in the kitchen,” she said.

“People don’t know what they don’t know. We introduce them to concepts of what’s out there – assistive technology and resources – and they can decide what they need.”

To find out more about the Occupational Therapy services that Guide Dogs provides, click here.

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