What happens in a day of an Occupational Therapist in Hobart?

VisAbility’s Manager of Therapy and Support Services Sebastian DellaMaddalena in Hobart City. Photo by: Fiona Harding

“Hi, I’m Seb and I am currently working as an Occupational Therapist at Kites Children’s Therapy Centre (link opens in new window) in Bellerive.  Hobart is such a gorgeous place!

At Kites, we work closely with families and children so that they are given the best opportunity to reach their full potential. The role is quite varied, which keeps it interesting.” Today I arrived to work at 8:45am. I use this time to plan for the day.  My first appointment is 9.30am.

9.30am – my first client is 4 years old and comes in with his mum for his appointment. Our session focused on increasing his attention during table top tasks. We trialled movement breaks as a strategy. He used his whole fist to hold the texta for pre-writing patterns (such as straight lines and zig zags which come before learning to write).

His mum and I discussed ways to develop his grasp of the texter when practicing at home. Mum is going to try writing with small pieces of chalk on the pavement; to make it difficult to use his fist – therefore, encouraging the smaller movements of his fingers.

10.30am – my second client arrives. He is a 6 year old boy who has autism. His mum and I are working on some tools to help him manage his energy levels. We are trialling some sensory tools – such as a fidget toy when working at the table and a “disc o sit” cushion when sitting on the floor. The cushion allows slight movement while sitting; without the need to get up and move around. If these are successful, we will share this with his teacher, to see if they can use the same at school.

11.30am – I write notes from my first two appointments as it’s fresh in my mind.

12pm – one of our OTs who works with adults came for a visit to speak with the NDIS coordinator at the Children’s Therapy Centre. The weather was nice, so the three of us decided to go for a short walk and have fish and chips on the water.

Then I’m on the road to see two children in Prep at a local primary school. I get to the school at 1.15pm so I have some time to observe one of the children in the playground at lunch. This was a great opportunity as at home we are working on “gentle” play; so I spoke to the teacher about the strategies we are using at home. We also shared some ideas on how to improve his independence.

The other boy is in the other Prep class. It was great to see him after lunch – he looked really tired and needed lots of prompting from his teacher and education assistant to complete the worksheet. I met with the Support Teacher and we discussed how both children may benefit from sensory “alerting” breaks incorporated into their daily routine – to improve their focus throughout the day. The school was really receptive and open to working together. I then enjoyed the drive back to the office – the Derwent River and mountainous background – stunning!

At 3.30pm I get back to the office and write my notes from these school visits. I then email a brief summary to both teachers and the children’s parents.

It’s now 4.15pm. Tomorrow I am seeing a 14 year old girl for her first appointment. I use the last 30 minutes of the day to read through her paediatrician’s report and NDIS plan in preparation. I also touch base with my colleague who coordinates our NDIS services who gave me a quick update about her initial interview with the child’s parents regarding their biggest concerns; which was very helpful.

4.45pm and the day is done! I look forward to seeing what the next day brings.”

If you live with vision impairment and need some extra support to live an active and independent life, we have a number of specialist services to help including orientation and mobility and assistive technology. Please contact us to learn more.