This month we're featuring Tia Stewart, an Occupational Therapist currently working in Special Education. Tia specialises in Aquatic Therapy and recently participated in our TOM Makeathon as a Maker on Team Charlie.
Image description: Tia smiling
It’s OT week and we’re celebrating the important work of OT’s. What do you love about your job and what are some of the challenges?
My favourite thing about being an OT is seeing the people I work with develop independence and achieve their goals. Working with kids is an added bonus as I get to be silly and have fun every day. The challenges are not having enough time in my day! There are so many things each person I work with wishes to achieve, and I wish I had more time to get to every one of them.
What was your role in the Makeathon? What was the challenge and the solution in the end?
I worked with Team Charlie. We were working on developing a walker for Charlie that could be hands free, so he could stand and even have a lightsaber fight or kick a ball, while still giving him the support that he needs. The aim was for Charlie to develop the confidence, balance and strength to walk without relying on his hands for support. The team were able to produce a walker that supports him to play while walking around independently. Team Charlie continues to work on the project, aiming to remodel it to be lightweight and foldable so it fits in the family's car.
OTs are a very important part of our Maker teams. What are your top learnings from the Makeathon experience?
The Makeathon is a wonderful chance to meet like-minded and lovely people and make a difference in a persons life. It takes quite a few designs and discussion with the team before you find something that will work. Everyone was so welcoming, especially Charlie's family. It was such a pleasure to make new friends and be a part of developing new assistive technology. I look forward to my next Makeathon!
The TOM: Melbourne team passes on our thanks to Tia and all of the OTs that do such important work in the community. We also thank all of the OTs that participate in our events and programs too – your contribution is so important, valued and greatly appreciated!