Currently working as a certified assistant speech-language pathologist, I have welcomed each new challenge with increasing zest and creativity. I have made the decision, however, to apply to graduate school in Occupational Therapy, because the more I learn about the field from my independent research and my friends who are OTs, the more I realize that it is in Occupational Therapy where I want to make my mark on life, for a number of reasons. As an assistant SLP, I have learned many valuable things that will also help me to excel as an OT.
My mother, a single Mexican mom, has been my primary inspiration, leading by example and demonstrating that it is never too late to return to school, complete your education, and achieve your dreams. Having always worked to support myself, the same determination my mother demonstrated has fueled my decision to return to full-time education and achieve what I started years ago.
My time working in speech pathology has not only developed my clinical acumen, refining my interpersonal abilities and interdisciplinary teamwork skills but has proven to myself and others that I am on the right path. Indeed, my path has led me to co-treating patients, enjoying the personal and professional benefits of increasing patients’ independence and enjoyment of life. Thus, I could not be more excited about getting started with my Master's in OT program at ____ University.
Firstly, XXXX’s MSOT program stood out to me from the background noise of other OT programs, with the breadth and autonomy of the curriculum highly attractive, the exceptional faculty, and the diverse student body. Secondly, XXXX’s location could not be more relevant to my future in OT. It is my ambition to serve the needs of the geriatric population in the border region of South Texas, responding to a growing need for quality OTs in this area who are bilingual and bicultural in English/Spanish.
Post-graduation, I envision serving the geriatric and special populations of the border region of South Texas as a qualified OT, ideally in a rehabilitation facility. My OT contributions would be enhanced by my foundation in speech therapy and the skills and experiences thereof. I look forward to establishing myself in the community as a respected, hardworking, and knowledgeable therapist, one that adheres to the highest ethical standards.
The OT does more than retrain damaged or ailing systems in the human body. While we deal with motor-neuron functions, among other practical issues, this would be ignoring the deeper reality: how the OT touches and enhances lives and restores hope, dignity, and pride in those whom they serve. I especially appreciate how the OTs use their hands, skills, and creativity to aid others in responding to the greatest challenges of their lives. To my mind, there is no better contribution or proof of our humanity. The OT’s contributions go well beyond simply fulfilling a job: they add value to the lives of people by encouraging patients to better themselves physically, emotionally, and psychologically, helping them to do for themselves, challenging them, and bringing them a sense of accomplishment. The OT is the footprints in the sand for their patients, working behind them, while inspiring them to do for themselves, carrying them only when they need extra support.
My introduction to OT was one of a deeply personal nature. After my grandmother suffered a stroke, it was an OT that nurtured her abilities, transforming her feelings of uselessness into confidence, and a new outlook on life. I was left in awe of the OT’s patience and abilities, at a time when her doctors expressed uncertainty as to her ability to recover.
As an assistant speech pathologist, it is my job and my joy to help others. While I have given all that I am to my work, I have been left wanting to give more through a career in OT. Speech pathology has refined my interpersonal skills not only with patients, but their families as well. Speech pathology work requires strict adherence to high ethical standards, protocols, and codes and like OT, places a priority on lifetime learning. Speech pathologists also work in teams, co-treating patients, and developing treatment plans. At times, one needs to take the initiative as a leader among other team members while serving in the clinic, introducing positive reinforcement systems for patients and their attendants. The work requires not only maturity and responsibility, but critical thinking skills, the ability to think on your feet, learn new concepts quickly, and always respond well to constructive criticism. While I appreciate that there are also many differences between these two disciplines, I anticipate my transition to OT will be fluid and logical, given my foundation in speech pathology.
OTs have the trust of their community and show their appreciation by participating in and contributing to community-related activities. For my part, I have used my make-up artistry skills to help bestow new confidence and positive outlooks on life to accident victims and the severely burned, promoting their self-esteem, and welcoming them to their new lives. I help people to gain the confidence to once more look others in the eye, without the fear of being seen as an accident or burn victim, but as a person, with the same hopes, fears, and desire to be a part of society as everyone else.
Inner confidence and resolve are among my greatest personal strengths, and I have coupled this with my highly developed interpersonal abilities and skills that I have practiced as a part of my career for over a decade. I am completely prepared for and expect an intense learning environment. What many call “the pressures of the job”, I find exhilarating and ideal.
Aside from my fluency in English and Spanish, and travels throughout Mexico, for over ten years, my professional career has seen me working with colleagues, customers, and patients who represent myriad ethnic backgrounds, socioeconomic status, ages, and physical conditions. I have worked with many people at their most fragile or vulnerable stages of life, confronting head-on their most sensitive issues, be they speech impediments or tragic disfigurements, helping them on a path of recovery and renewed inner strength.
The fastest-growing population in the US is our seniors. Aside from the influx of people of diverse backgrounds into America’s healthcare system, the readmission of seniors into hospitals due to revolving doors of insufficient therapy is nothing short of alarming. It is my aim to do all that I can to ensure that seniors receive the finest care possible, not just with motor performance, but the safety/awareness of their home environments, and community integration, ensuring an empowerment that is not just well-rounded, but complete. What is more, we live in a burgeoning age of preventative medicine. I have been intrigued by the ideas of Dr. XXXX (and her colleagues), especially her observations of body orientation and point-to-point movement in healthy seniors.
Autism, like other pervasive developmental disorders, has proven to be an area where OTs can make substantial contributions. I am especially drawn to this area of OT, of the sheer challenge, the need for creative approaches, and intrinsic rewards. OT and its approach to healing, and rehabilitation, one that includes a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals is the ideal discipline that can make the greatest contributions to giving autistic children the best chance to function positively not just in their homes, but also in their communities.
MSOT Personal Statement, Master Occupational Therapy