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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Beautiful Disruptions


August 23, 2018
by Joyce

What are OS/OT?

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While you can easily Google the definition of OT, more often than not, you will find that each individual explains OT in unique ways. It goes to show the power of personalization that OT practices. To me… OT is all about taking disruptions in your life and turning them into something beautiful… beautiful disruptions.

What do I mean by that? When I get asked the question, “Why did you choose OT?” I never leave out the story of my grandmother. She experienced a car accident decades ago, before I was born. It was a T5/T6 incomplete spinal cord injury. She was paralyzed from the waist down and as the years passed, the caregiver burden grew and my grandfather could no longer care for her alone. That is when my family decided to move in.

I remember I would use my grandmother’s reacher as my play toy to pinch my little brother. I would also get in trouble riding around in her wheelchair. To society these are representations of disability, weakness, and annoyance. But I saw the little but impactful influences they had on my grandmother’s quality of life.

My grandmother’s accident and injury disrupted my family’s lives. My father had to quit school and my mother was constantly caring for her mother-in-law. Family trips were difficult to plan because at least one of my parents had to stay home to be with my grandmother. Our day-to-day schedule worked around my grandmother’s bowel and bladder movements. As a child, I envied other grandmothers who drove their grandchildren around!

However, these disruptions were beautiful in themselves. I created an important and healthy relationship with my grandparents. Many of my friends grew up without grandparents! All in all, I realized that I am the happiest when I am serving others. This has led me to a career path that sets my heart on fire! This specific disruption brought my family closer as we worked to overcome every obstacle together.

OT guides the individual to take the disruptions in their life (like physical illness, mental health, financial difficulty, medication management, etc.) and turn them into something meaningful, something beautiful, thus turning them into beautiful disruptions.