Undoubtedly, someone who knows me is questioning how in the world I got involved in peds. It's true, I never thought that I would be a pediatric practitioner, even though there are thousands of OTs who want nothing more than to work with kids. It's not that I don't like kids... but I always stated that I would want to work with adults, who could be reasonable, and who would want to participate so that they would improve their function. Now that I've gone through school and have several months of working w/ adults under my belt, I realize that they are not all reasonable, and even the ones that are don't always want to work anyway. I'm with a lot of elderly people right now, but despite the great stories you can get from the patients, there are times when treatment can get downright boring. (sigh)
This realization in and of itself wasn't going to drive me to the opposite end of the spectrum. But there has been a lot of turnover at my location in the past year. After I first accepted the job, the pediatric therapist resigned. I was left to supervise a COTA doing most of the peds clients, mostly just doing evaluations. Then, after a couple of months, she left too. With no other coworkers even vaguely interested in doing peds, I was left holding the ball, so to speak.
So, what started as me being stuck in an uncomfortable situation that I wasn't ready for, seemed to evolve. What I wasn't originally interested in became the challenging part of my job that makes me work harder and actually find fun. There are moments where it actually makes my body ache - crawling on the floor, hoisting kids around, getting hit in the head - but there is actually a lot of fun involved too. My first real observation of an OT was in a pediatric setting, but I never thought I would be able to do it, or enjoy it.
I'm finally starting to see how this section of the profession can be really rewarding. As with all patients, sometimes the littlest gains can make you most elated. Here's a little story of one of those tiny successes:
Little Mr. O has been coming to therapy as a 2 year old w/ developmental delay. I reevaluated him with the Peabody last week. I felt like an idiot because he scored so much lower than I thought he would- about a year behind in fine motor skills. I was dreading having to talk to his mom. I went out before the session and tried to be positive, emphasize his strengths, outline our new goals. She was unhappy, I was unhappy. But I went back to the play room w/ lil' O and started some sensory stuff. He was playing with a little nobby ball and I could see a light go on. He immediately ran across the room, and opened the top on this little desk that he sits at during some sessions. He opens it up to this little pegboard you can stick letters to, touches it, touches the ball, and has this expression of "THIS IS THE SAME! I KNOW IT!" (he can't talk, so that expression was worth it all) It was so nice to know that he really is developing and that there's all kinds of cognitive action in him, and that I am so close to reaching it.