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Ruth Moys, Specialist Occupational Therapist at The Children’s Trust.

Working in the charity’s rehabilitation team, Ruth helps children with
acquired brain injuries live their best lives possible.

“An occupational therapist is a problem solver. I help children achieve what they want, need or expect to do in their everyday lives, working with children and parents to achieve specific goals.

My job is varied because what’s important to a child varies, but typical goals would be helping them gain independence by learning to get ready for the day. However, it could be that playing computer games, baking or painting are important to them.

I help kids with physical and thinking skills but I’m also looking for equipment or services that might help them in the future – procuring a suitable wheelchair, for instance.”

A typical day...

… starts around 8.30am with a 4.30pm finish. I work Monday to Friday, although during the pandemic I’ve worked some Saturdays as we try to reduce the amount of staff on site and help to speed up discharges from hospitals.

Every morning there is handover, a recap on the last 24 hours and anything that may influence the nurses or therapists that day. For instance, if a child had a bad night’s sleep that could affect what they are able to do.

My day is split up into half hour or 45-minute sessions with individual children, with a break for lunch and some admin time.

The hardest thing is...

…walking the line between supporting a family and hearing their concerns while also dealing with the reality of things like accessible housing being in short supply.

The best thing... seeing the kids make progress – it’s so rewarding. They are adjusting to a new normal so they can be excited about progress but also frustrated or sad about everything they have lost.

It’s great to witness the first time a child walks, or to see a child light up when they first drive their powered wheelchair around. But there are so many little things that happen every day – a child brushing their teeth independently or going out with their family for the first time can be a huge achievement.

I work with...

…a great team who support me – speech therapists, music therapists, physiotherapists, teachers and more. I might do a joint session with a physiotherapist to help a child reach the toilet, or with a speech therapist to help them let us know when they need it.

It's amazing...

…how varied the job is. Some children have obvious disabilities; with others you wouldn’t necessarily know there is anything wrong with them, yet they have hidden communicational or cognitive difficulties. I work with many kids for four to 12 weeks and on a variety of goals,  so it’s like my job changes every few months. It’s always interesting because every brain injury is different and every child is different. The learning opportunities and the variety are endless. I love my job.

Help children with brain injuries

We deliver rehabilitation, education and community services through skilled teams who work with children.

This is a feature from Issue 1 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.