Lecturer gives CBU students an inside look into a career as an occupational therapist
Riverside, Calif. (Nov. 17, 2016)—Students from the College of Health Science at California Baptist University were offered a unique perspective on what a career in occupational therapy encompasses from Dr. Bryan Gee, who is the occupational therapy program director at Idaho State University.
Gee spoke as part of the College of Health Science’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
Gee said that he is often asked to differentiate between occupational therapy and physical therapy.
“One major difference is that occupational therapy rehabilitates the most intimate aspects of someone’s life.”
Occupational therapists help their patients with daily activities, Gee said. Occupational therapists are also interested in patients developing a life of play and leisure.
“These are probably the most meaningful aspects of [their] daily lives,” Gee said. “If [patients] can’t do them, then they’ll probably experience some physiological and physical discomfort.”
The scope of occupational therapy is very broad, Gee said.
“We focus on accessibility. We want to make sure everybody can do anything regardless of a patient’s condition,” he said.
Gee gave an example of how students could help at their local church as an occupational therapist.
A family that includes an autistic child can find going to church difficult, Gee said. An occupational therapist can work with the family and the pastor at a church to help create a beneficial experience by being a trained liaison.
“The clergy aren’t trained to assist children [with special needs],” he said. “As an occupational therapist, I can take the speech language pathologist with me or the behavioral specialist with me, and we can go do a consult…so the family can go to church together.”
Gee also shared how he has worked with a child who had Down Syndrome to improve the child’s muscle skills. He helped the family develop a plan that they could all participate in that would help his patient.
“Occupational therapy does a good job at addressing the whole person,” he said. “In this field you have to be comfortable addressing the intimate details of a person’s life.”