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Savannah – Occupational Therapist

A black and white photo of a woman smiling at a young boy to her left. She's holding an item wrapped in newspaper that appears to be part of a game or activity.

Image by Philip Bohle

Savannah is a leader in the disability sector and works with purpose to benefit the community.

She values seeing how the time she spends with young people with disability, leads to their personal growth. Savannah is highly motivated to empower young people with disability to live their best life.

 

People with Disabilities Come First

 

Savannah began her career in the community services industry as a disability support worker before training as an Occupational Therapist (OT).  She describes OT as a very practical profession, which sees clients achieve positive outcomes. Savannah says it’s often the little things for clients, that make a difference – they don’t sound like a big deal but can mean so much for a young person after months of practice.

“There are moments when something clicks with a young person. Like when they tie their shoes for the first time – they’re so proud. They’re SO proud! It’s taken you months to get to that point. Everyone’s so happy. You have these moments where we just come together and achieve something that you never thought would happen.”

However, Savannah’s work can be challenging but she believes the benefits of the practical outcomes she can achieve with a child and family, outweigh the challenging aspects. She provides a safe place for client to express themselves, which can help the process of growth for a child and their family and strengthen their working relationship.

 “I have had children who have hit me, licked me… It’s just part of work. And to be honest, I don’t mind, because they’re kids, and it’s not their fault. And you have to remain composed and calm and patient when that’s happening and respond in the way that’s going to benefit the child the most.”

Savannah ensures that people with disabilities are welcomed, accepted and included in all aspects of community life as she knows this helps them to flourish.  

 

A Community of Support, and Laughter

 

Savannah knows she is not alone in her work. She  values the vibrant community she has built through working in the disability sector and feels a deep sense of  camaraderie amongst coworkers. Savannah can debrief with colleagues to as required and finds this helps build her understanding and insight. Collaboration helps her colleagues to work in sync when supporting clients,  which is crucial for providing the best outcomes for children and their families.

“You just get such better results when everyone works together. It doesn’t matter what organisation you’re with, if you’ve all got the same client, you just work together and it works well.”

Image by Philip Bohle

Lifelong Learning

In addition to collaborating with a supportive professional community, Savannah prioritises professional development and is committed to delivering  evidence based practice.

“I like providing interventions that I know have scientific evidence behind them. To do that you have to read journal articles, you have to know that what you’re providing is the best you can at the time. I just want to be the best professional. I want to do the best for my clients that I can, and make sure I’m informed.”

Savannah’s expertise also extends to those moments of not knowing what the next step is for a family and this is also where she demonstrates great integrity.

“I find it important to say when you don’t know something,  it happens a lot in this job. Sometimes people ask a question, you go, look, I don’t know, but I’m going to find out. . We’ll work it out together.”

It takes humility and courage to admit you don’t know what the best choice might be in any given situation, but approaching all people with respect and having the desire to learn are  core value of working  in the community services industry. Savannah wants to make a difference to families and the children she works with, which is why she became an OT.

“OT is a practical profession. Parents will come to me. They are lost sometimes. So, it is my job to pick through their life and pick out the things that are the most important to them to improve – their goals.”

Creating practical solutions  for how people live their daily lives means Savannah gets to see and participate in real-world outcomes for families which can be very satisfying.

“OT is probably one of the best professions because you can get quite instant gratification. If you work with a client for three sessions, you will see change, directly because of you. So, it’s just a lovely thing to do. It’s a really great profession to be in.”

Savannah works with purpose. She serves the community with joy, builds on her own experience through professional development to create a more inclusive and fair society for people with disability.

Our sincere thanks to Savannah for her contribution to Work with Purpose. To find out more about working in disability access an information guide here.

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