What follows is a book review by The author, Shoshanah Shear, Occupational Therapist.
“Healing Your Life Through Activity — An Occupational Therapist’s Story” was written following requests from some of my patients and their families. My patients were frustrated that they had not known anything about occupational therapy sooner, a fact that lead to needless time wasted where they could have been receiving the intervention they needed and deserved. Ironically — these patients did not come to me of their own accord, neither were they referred to me. I had come across them through an indirect manner, and hearing their story, I realized that what they were in need of — was occupational therapy. The book was written to educate the layperson and to make them aware of when this profession can be of benefit to them, and when indeed they should ask a doctor to make a positive referral to a qualified occupational therapist. Those who expressed interest in such a book felt it should also target medical students and health professionals in order to improve timely and appropriate referrals from the doctors themselves.To write a work that would be equally useful to the layperson, medical student and the health professional was no easy challenge. The book needed to be interesting, easy to read and appeal to all three audiences. Additionally, the book needed credibility. It was all these issues that I would come to address!
Contents of the Book:
The book includes:
letters of endorsement
impressions from lay people
comments from fellow occupational therapists who share their love of being an OT
the bulk of the book. This — the largest section, illustrates how OT impacts and benefits our clients throughout the entire lifecycle. Using my own work experience combined with references and relevant footnotes
for further explanation, I have endeavored to provide a journey through the profession that reads like a story.
Seemingly unimportant, the dedication in fact, provides much flavour to the book! It is through the dedication that the reader may already pick up the reasons for my choice of studying occupational therapy, and its own importance upon the community.
It is dedicated to my late grandfather, Prof V.L. Granger — a Civil Engineer by profession. He became the first full-time Dean of Engineering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (UCT), Honorary Life President of St. Giles Association for the Handicapped, and Honorary Life Member of the Association for the Physically Disabled (APD) — both in Cape Town, South Africa.
My grandfather had personal experience with overcoming disability and used his experience to help strengthen and empower the disabled in South Africa. The book includes a glimpse into the wonderful work that my grandfather carried out, and how this overlaps with or impacted on the developing profession of occupational therapy in SA.
Occupational Therapy Defined
Did you know that occupational therapy can assist a person at any stage of their lifecycle? Occupational therapy is not just for kids, adults, or the elderly. It is also not just for people with disabilities. Occupational therapy does in fact assist even healthy people to lead active, meaningful and productive lives!
To define occupational therapy, we can say that occupational therapy uses occupations / activities (such as sport, creative pursuits, work tasks etc.) as a medium of therapy in order to enable the client to function to their optimum in the tasks they need to or want to carry out, on a day to day basis, within the context of their families, environment and communities.
Occupational therapy is a vast subject and an holistic profession that has far-reaching benefits. Due to its extensive nature, it is not an easy task for the best of occupational therapists to condense into one book.
With all this, I felt it vital to make a start and introduce this wealth of knowledge to all readers, by condensing the broadest of features of the profession into one book.
The book includes photographs as well as meaningful quotes from well known and respected people in OT and beyond.
Reviewers personal response to the book:
Emeritus Professor Tuvia Zabow,
Former Head of Psychiatry at Groote Schuur Hospital /Valkenberg, Cape Town, South Africa giving all readers an opportunity to understand what the essence of the book is, had this to say: “The book is a remarkable description of the development and the journey of Occupational Therapy… The author, has with her own particular and special skill illustrated the values and contribution to overall healthcare.
“The book is a remarkable description of the development and the journey of Occupational Therapy… The author, has with her own particular and special skill illustrated the values and contribution to overall healthcare. This book will be read with interest by patients, families, all healthcare students and medical practitioners who will be enlightened further and gain significant understanding of patient care.”
Norman Samuels M.D. Medical Director and retired obesity surgeon, Florida, USA says,
“I was most impressed with the very extensive coverage of occupational therapy as an important modality to help so many people of all ages and different disabilities and backgrounds regain function, and return to a productive life. The book certainly helped me understand how occupational therapy can be of use for so many different situations in life and is so obviously underutilised by the medical profession.”
Style / Layout of the bookThe book contains 250 pages and comes with an inviting cover — representing the happiness of the profession — and the importance of activity! The inside is formatted attractively with “white space” for the reader to pause and consider information in one chapter before moving on to the next. The book includes a comprehensive glossary — especially suited for the layperson.
And will be available on other online stores shortly!
Join Shoshanah’s Facebook “author page”Healing Occupational Therapy BlogTo stay up to date on further developments of the book, talks to be offered, and other options to obtain a copy of the book. I am always happy to be in touch or to offer web seminars or radio interviews for those wishing to be further enlightened as to the benefits of the wonderful profession of occupational therapy.
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