April is Occupational Therapy Month—and that means it’s time to bust out the confetti and celebrate! Now, many would agree that celebrating OT—and the benefits occupational therapists provide—shouldn’t merely be a one-month endeavor. But, it’s a great opportunity to showcase this amazing profession on a bigger stage. That means raising awareness about OT in general and showing appreciation for all the hard-working therapists who are helping patients become as independent as possible in their daily lives. Looking for ideas on how to celebrate—or how to honor your OT friends or colleagues? Check out these six suggestions.
1. Give kudos.
If you work in any industry long enough, you’re bound to have a few bad days. But, I’d argue that, from a work perspective, there aren’t many things better than receiving recognition from your coworkers and peers. If you know or work with an OT, you might want to consider offering him or her a small token of appreciation to mark this annual occasion. Some ideas include taking him or her out for lunch, writing a thank-you note, ordering a cake, or giving him or her a small gift.
2. Raise money for a worthwhile cause.
Because rehab therapists are a passionate, giving group—with big hearts, to boot—it makes perfect sense to honor them by raising money for an OT-focused charity. Some options include:
- Setting up a donation box at your clinic’s front desk.
- Hosting a 5K walk or run, with the proceeds going to charity.
- Creating a crowdfunding campaign to benefit a charitable organization.
3. Spread the word on social media.
This one’s pretty easy. Dedicate 30 minutes each day—or maybe a few days a week—to sharing news about Occupational Therapy Month and/or promoting the industry as a whole. And because social media is such a visual medium, you can snap photos of your fundraising efforts and clinic parties and then post on your company Facebook and Twitter pages. Want to up your thought leadership game? Share interesting blog posts (hint, hint—this one), engage with your audience by asking them why they love OT, and outline future goals you hope to achieve in practice.
4. Share your OT story with community groups.
Plenty of us belong to networking associations, chambers of commerce, and/or social groups that allow us to get to know other like-minded people in our communities. And because the benefits of OT aren’t universally known, these forums are perfect for hosting a brief talk about the effectiveness of OT treatment and services. You and your staff might also benefit from volunteering to teach a class or attending a high school career fair to educate students who may be interested in pursuing this career path. It doesn’t matter how you plant these seeds; the idea is simply to get out there and get involved.
5. Host an OT Olympics event.
Nothing brings people together like friendly competition. To educate people—er, contestants—on all things OT, host an activities of daily living (ADL) relay or a wheelchair obstacle race. Competitions like these provide a fun way to promote awareness of the OT profession. Now, go get that blood pumping!
6. Stock up on OT swag.
People love free stuff. So, to get folks in your office stoked for OT month, consider hosting weekly prize giveaways. Check out this site to score deals on clothing, gifts, coffee mugs, and other items that you can share with colleagues and peers (note: gifting items to patients is typically a no-no).
Happy OT Month to one and all! Looking for more information about this month of OT appreciation? Check out the American Occupational Therapy Association's website and follow #OTMonth on Twitter to be part of the excitement.