1. It is the ultimate prep rally because you see how we are impacting the lives of others! MOTIVATIONAL!
During the Welcoming Ceremony,at the 94th AOTA conference, we were given the pleasure to hear from three soldiers who lost limbs in the current war due to bomb accidents. I want to apologize for not being able to remember all of the soldiers name. Travis, was quad amputee, Tim, lost both lower limbs and servery damaged his right arm, and the other gentleman, lost both lower limbs and one of his arms. All of the soldiers talked about how OT gave them their lives back.
Travis said that when he had his accident, his wife just had their first baby and he wondered how was he going to be able to hold his daughter and how was he going to be an active father. He mentioned, thanks to Assistive Technology, he only needs his wife for 2 seconds each morning to put on his legs and he does everything else. He said how happy he was that he was able to DRIVE from Texas to state on the east coast (I forgot which state it was). He said that OT taught him everything he needed to be able to live a life that he did not know was possible.
Tim mentioned that after his accident, he thought his life was over. He said all his dreams went down the drain; however, with OT he found that he has a really loves singing. He said that he has opened many concerts for quite a few famous bands such as Pink Floyd! He said not only did OT give him his life back but OT also saved his life because it helped him find a purpose.
To hear these three men talk about how OT has been with them every step of the way made my heart jump out of my chest. I thought, I knew it! I am special. I am in a career that is helping someone who has no limbs to drive across the country, a career that gave a man a voice, a career that is helping a person who does not look like everyone else on the outside to feel amazing like "a regular person" on the inside! Man! OT's and their(the patients) own motivation got them there. WE ARE A PART OF THAT! I just feel thankful for being able to hear those testimonies.
This is my photo bomb with the soldiers and their OT.
Also, I learned how important it is to remain a member of AOTA. AOTA can only take legislative concerns to Capital Hill for their members. For example, if there are 130,000 OT's and only 1,000 of those OT's are members of AOTA, then when AOTA representatives go to Capital Hill, they can only speak for 1,000 members. There is power in numbers. Just think if we could have 35% of OT's registered with AOTA, how much more of an impact we will have to help patients get the services that they need.The numbers given at the conference for OT's were larger and the number of AOTA members were SMALLER. On a uplifting note, the president announced that a percentage of our membership fee will now go towards research.
2. It was soooooo INFORMATIONAL.
I was able to attend many short courses and seminars. I really liked the Health Literacy seminar that I attended. I learned that there are standardized test for health literacy. Some test are long and others are short. One test that I thought was interesting was reading a nutritional label. The label includes mathematics and reading, which are both needed for health literacy. I read labels a lot, but when it came to doing the math, such as a person can not have 2 gr of sodium, and having to break down the portion size then do some other stuff, I thought wow! I can see how a person can become overwhelmed and not complete reading the remaining part of the instructions for fear that the rest will be just as frustrating.
I learned that when writing documentation for patients, we should make sure to check the reading level. We should make sure that the reading level is no higher than 8th grade, since most people drop out of school in high school and some of those people may not be able to understand 8th grade reading level. The seminar encouraged us to ask questions to assure the client understands what is going on; however, when we ask questions we should put the burden on ourselves. Such as, "Did I explain everything clearly? What can I explain better? Can you help me understand what I can explain better?" We should make sure to ask question so that the client does not feel inadequate or feel embarrassed for not understand.
I also appreciated how the conference helped tie in the concepts that I was learning in class to practice. I heard the words like "Occupation based", "Psychosocial", "Research", and "Ataxia"over and over again. When I thought I would never have to do anything with research again, I heard about finding the mean, showing significance in almost every seminar. I did not feel lost. I was like, OOOOH this is why it is important to pay attention in class because the numbers really do mean something. LOL. Then I thought about my Neuroscience class when another seminar was talking about the cerebellum, limbic tagging, and sensory. I was thankful that my school did a good job in instilling concepts in the first part of our course. I did not feel as lost or confused as I may have if I had not had those classes. I have learned to appreciate the learning process even more, thanks to the conference.
3. The Expo was FUN. FREE STUFF!
The Expo had so many vendors, employment agencys, schools, Assistive Technology, food, and more. It was like a little OT smoorgish board. Too much fun. Plus good networking.
All the items I received from the conference. Including 11 bags, 3 shirts, a roll of dysim, a weighted spoon handle, a tube of bio freeze, hand strengthening tools, an auto graphed key chain from Claudia Allen (the inventor of the Allen Cognitive test) and much more. By the way, none of my clothes are in the suite case.
My imaginary bubble bath. The ball pit had lights the light up on the bottom. Very since for sensory. On the sensory profile I am a Seeker, SO I loved this!
The NBCOT booth hired this amazing man who made balloon animals. You should have seen the line. I was to receive one. He was only there for one day!
3. The COST.
As a student we get a lower rates on the conference entrance fee.
Overall, I had a blast. I am soooo thankful to have had the opportunity to attend this year's conference. I have hoping to be able to attend next year's conference. I have started some fundraising to help with the cost. If you are interested in helping me attend my last AOTA conference as a student, please go to http://www.gofundme.com/8o6qgs . Every little bit helps. I deeply appreciate it.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
I am hoping the best for all of you!
My last day at conference. I volunteered as a Room Monitor in two seminars.