The Benevolent Society acknowledges the important support occupational therapists provide to people in Australia and around the world as part of World Occupational Therapy Day (October 27). This year’s theme is ‘Belong. Be You.’ It promotes the power of diversity and inclusion to build a community and foster resilience.
Occupational therapists assist people living with disability, or who are adjusting to life following illness or injury, to gain greater independence in their life. This can include services that help with self-care, education performance or engaging in recreational activities. Occupational therapists play an important role in improving the quality of life of people, including the parents and carers of the person receiving the service.
Our occupational therapists at The Benevolent Society are a team of talented and passionate professionals. They are committed to supporting people to live their life, their way, and we thank them for everything they do. Let’s get to know one of the team.
From L - R: Esther Cappelletto (Team Leader in Adelaide), Alexander Young (Occupational Therapist, Adelaide and Yorke Peninsula) and Emma Hayes (Occupational Therapist based in Port Pirie)
Alexander has been working in our South Australia disability services team since it was established in 2019. While he provides occupational therapy services to many age groups across the state, his case load is predominantly made up of paediatric disability clients.
“I aim to help babies, children and adolescents develop their independence in everyday tasks,” Alexander explains. “Many of my clients are young people with neurodevelopmental diagnoses, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability or ADHD, who receive funding from the NDIA. I also see clients with physical, psychiatric and trauma related disorders.”
“Some of the most rewarding work I have done in my career is assisting young clients to develop their skills to be able to walk independently, especially when they are past the typical developmental ranges for walking. For something we can take for granted, I have seen it have such a huge effect on a young child’s life, and you really see great progress in other areas of their life as a result, such as their sensory processing difficulties, communication, play and their overall wellbeing.”
Life on the road
A large part of Alexander’s role includes travelling to his clients in Adelaide and regional South Australia, including regular trips to the Yorke Peninsula to provide outreach services to a country community.
“Although I am not from the Yorke Peninsula, I am from the country, so being able to provide a service to country clients is extremely meaningful to me and provides extra motivation for the occasional tiring drive home!” says Alexander. “The days I am based in Adelaide, I will travel between kindergartens, schools, homes and our two clinics to see clients.”
“I love my job because I get to spend time and really get to know some amazing families and individuals from all over South Australia and have lots of fun whilst doing it.”
A small change can make a big difference
Alexander says that initial meetings with clients and families are one of his favourite parts of the role, as is seeing a client learn a new skill.
“Talking with families and hearing their story is quite an honour. Seeing the progression in my clients, big or small, is incredibly rewarding,” he says. “Clients often feel frustrated, anxious or disappointed when they can’t complete an action or activity, so seeing how their world can open up when they achieve something they believed they couldn’t is extremely motivating for me.”
“I remember one of my younger client’s wasn’t able to blow his nose, which was causing him a lot of frustration and leading to some negative behaviours in the classroom. Through working together with his parents and teachers, and trialling different strategies, he was able to build his skills to do this independently. It’s amazing how something so small can have a big impact on someone’s life.”
On his long drives to meet some of his clients, Alexander will often think about the services he provides and ways to do even better for his clients.
“It is always important to reflect on who we are and what we do,” he says. “This is why I think World Occupational Therapy Day is a great reminder and opportunity to reflect on all the amazing support people in our profession provide every day. I wish all occupational therapists a happy World Occupational Therapy Day.”
To find out more about how occupational therapy can help you or your loved ones you can call our support centre at 1800 236 762 or visit our page on occupational therapy here.