I’ve had my share of school…two years of pre-school, one year of kindergarten, six years of elementary school, two years of junior high, four years of high school, one year of junior college, and three years of college. (Most likely everyone reading this has put in this many years as well…maybe less, maybe more, but typing all of it out sure does make it look I’ve been in school forever!) Nonetheless, earlier this month, I had the chance to go back to college and I couldn’t wait!
While at the KS Truck Mobility Rodeo last month, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Stucky, the Director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program at Newman University in Wichita, and we got to talking about my injury/accident and the importance of physical and occupational therapy. At the end of conversation, he took my card and said he might be in touch.
Much to my surprise, I received an email from him the very next day asking if I would be willing to come and speak to his OTA Clinical Conditions class as they were getting reading to cover spinal cord injuries. I jumped at this opportunity – it was going to be a change from my “normal” MWKS presentation and I would be able to talk about my experiences and how vital physical and occupational therapy is for spinal cord patients.
On Thursday, October 4th, I took off from work a bit early and we headed east. Upon my arrival, the 21 students of the OTA class greeted me with a huge welcome that they had to have rehearsed a few times! After a student presentation, I was up and unlike some of my speaking engagements, I wasn’t super nervous about this one.
After telling them a little bit about myself, I dove into my accident, my therapies, and what it is like to live with a spinal cord injury. I spared no detail, as I knew this was the audience who wanted to details…they wanted the nitty gritty. After my presentation, I opened the floor for questions and boy, did I get some good ones. They ranged from questions of pregnancy to relationships with friends and family to how I do certain things and what type of adaptive devices I use.
I feel extremely grateful that I had this opportunity because by being able to speak to this OTA class, it made me feel as if I was perhaps giving a little back to those physical and occupational therapists who gave everything they had to help me get to where I am today.