Ninety-one year old Barbara Beskind has my heart on this one: she always wanted to be an inventor. As a young woman she was denied access to engineering school to make her dream came true so she became an occupational therapist instead. She now works for a Silicon Valley design firm called IDEO every week, taking the bus and walking several blocks to her dream job.
Well as an occupational therapist myself, I clearly see the benefits of having an “inventive” mindset! In my own words, an occupational therapist evaluates how a person occupies their time and the skills needed to do those things. We have expertise in anatomy; physiology; neuroanatomy; activity analysis; activities of daily living; medical care and equipment; mental health; documentation and professional writing; the healthcare, work, and school system systems including their environments; treatment modalities and manual therapies. Our job often includes creating or modifying devices to make the life of a patient/client easier or safer, from hand splints to adaptive feeding utensils and more.
Many occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants choose to specialize in a particular area of healthcare, consulting, medical sales, or business ownership as our careers develop. Occupational therapy provides an excellent background for a lifetime of meaningful work roles, equipping creative professionals like me to re-invent my own career many times!
I am exceedingly grateful to have been a part of numerous specialty areas of practice (i.e. mental health, rehabilitation, home health care, consultation, community education and training) including starting or expanding five occupational therapy programs. Three times I have enjoyed creating innovative home businesses before founding Two Step Solutions. Thankfully I am still a long ways before reaching age 91!
Here is Mrs. Beskind’s inspiring story from the Today Show. May it encourage you to keep following your heart’s desire for someday it just may come true! Please share your thoughts with our community below.