Tell Us About Bri The OT
I’m an energetic Occupational Therapist who loves to sing, dance and make people smile!
I have a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Illinois. I’m currently working on completing my Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. From the University of Texas Medical Branch.
I’m also a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association. And the World Federation of Occupational Therapy.
I’ve worked in many environments. Including homes, schools, hospitals, private practice, telehealth, corporate and clinic-based work.
That’s Impressive! What Motivated You To Pursue A Career In Occupational Therapy?
My personal experiences with relatives, and meeting children with various disabilities.
The passion was further inspired by local communities who may not have access to all they need. I love to connect, educate, advocate for and partner with them.
Everything I do is to help improve my clients’ quality of life and guide them toward independent living. I love it when I see growth steps.
How Did You End Up In Botswana?
I was on an exchange program at the University of Botswana in 2012. Studying Public Health in Botswana. I left for a while but wanted to come back to where my passion was sparked. I finally came back in January 2020.
During my time as an exchange student, I noticed my excitement when working with people living with disabilities.
Here in Botswana, there are services for the blind and deaf. But awareness of other disabilities is still quite low. I then wanted to create more awareness and acceptance for children living with different disabilities.
I also appreciated that there’s a lot that can be done for disability awareness in Botswana. Efforts to advocate for the rights and inclusion of individuals with disabilities are still slow.
What makes it difficult is the lack of statistics on children living with disabilities. This makes it harder to understand, plan and provide the right education systems and resources. For both parents and children living with disabilities.
Are There Any Ways These Challenges Can Be Overcome?
I’ve worked with nonprofits and various organizations that are on the same mission – to improve disability awareness in Botswana. Ultimately, we are on the right track and understanding of disability is growing.
We’re increasing disability awareness and education by training parents and having conversations with them. We reach out and engage with them on social media, workplaces, schools, and so on. Little efforts, that make a big difference.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
OT is a treatment that focuses on helping people of all ages achieve independence in all areas of their lives.
It addresses psychological, social and environmental factors. Anything that may hinder an individual’s ability to function in different areas of life. We as OTs offer prevention, promotion and interventions in different populations and settings.
A child’s main occupations are playing, learning, and completing everyday self- care activities. At times these are hindered by motor and sensory processing, attention, emotions, behavioural or cognitive barriers.
An Occupational Therapist checks a child’s skills and recommends the necessary steps and activities. To help them reach age-appropriate aptitude. Skills such as play skills, social interaction, school performance, and day-to-day activities.
What’s Your Favourite Success Story From Botswana?
Mothusi (not the real name of the child) was a vibrant ten-year-old boy who was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The village schools couldn’t accept students with physical and developmental disabilities. They also lacked the right resources and staff needed to assist Mothusi throughout the day. The private schools that were able to accept him were too far.
His family was unsure of the services that he needed. When services were available, the family was unable to afford the cost. Besides transportation issues. Mothusi’s family felt stuck. They felt like he was an outcast from the rest of the children. They felt embarrassed and feared being the talk of the community.
During my short time with Mothusi, I taught his family some simple games to stimulate his senses and movement. We traced lines in the sand and counted as we played soccer. His whole body shook with excitement as he realized he too, could play.
Meeting Mothusi confirmed that families can benefit from disability education. And that children with ASD can be included in the community.
A family’s journey with ASD is lengthy and complicated to summarize. There’s a great need for more awareness, acceptance, education, and advocacy for families with children with ASD in Botswana.
Who Can Occupational Therapy Help?
Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do. Through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations).
Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest. By helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.
Families are often looking for help and information from occupational therapists. OTs, thus, provide the right therapeutic resources to promote the best possible development for clients.
We work hard to engage the child’s family members using in-home programs to ensure the best results. Success is ultimately achieved by fostering an environment that’s warm, personable and professional.
Occupational Therapy helps anyone struggling with:
Ex: Difficulty with forming letters/numbers, copying, grasping a writing instrument, and composing thoughts
Ex: How children process, interpret and respond to what they see hear, smell, taste, and touch
Fine Motor Skills
Ex: Writing, holding small objects, buttoning clothes, etc.
Gross Motor Skills
Ex: Running, crawling, skipping, swimming, etc
Getting dressed, combing hair, going to the bathroom, etc
Picky eaters, limited diet, and textures dislikes
Places That Offer Occupational Therapy In Botswana
Meribah Occupational Therapy Solutions
Meribah offers therapeutic use of occupations for everyday life activities. Suited for individuals, groups, populations, or organizations.
They support participation, performance, and function in roles and situations in the home, school, workplace, community. You can find the following occupational therapy services.
- Pediatric Occupational Therapy. Attending to Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, general developmental delays, Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, and other child neurologic conditions
- School-based assessments and interventions
- Pre-vocational skills assessments
- Adult neurologic conditions (Spinal Cord Injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries among others)
- Orthopedic conditions (musculoskeletal conditions)~ Home visit and home adaptations to enable functional independence
- Work hardening and return to work assessments and recommendations
- Workplace assessments and ergonomics consultations
- Virtual Occupational Therapy Services
Contact: 311 5360
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Meribah Occupational Therapy Solutions
Occuptional Therapy Centre For Children
They offer occupational therapy services for babies and children from 0 – 18 years with a variety of concerns. These include medical, physical, neurodevelopmental and learning difficulties.
Services include sensory integration therapy, assessment, intervention and school-based therapy programs. They offer hand therapy & splinting, equipment assessment and intervention at home, school or in a clinic.
Contact: 391 8812
Mobile: 74 169 237
Facebook: Occupational Therapy Centre For Children
We hope this was helpful. Like and follow Bri The OT on her Facebook page to find out what she’s up to next.
This is an amazing story! I couldn’t help but admire your impeccable record. We are all affected one way or the other. Awareness is the best tool for making the environment tolerable for the disabled, with emphasis to education to the community and public about tolerance and understanding. This would make this world a better place, especially in BW, and I think we need statistics to be availed to the public just as we have for COVID-19 as this would help revamp the understanding and a chance for partners around the world to venture into this area of need. I have a family member who is visually disabled, and I understand the psychological impact it has on them.
Keep up the good work Lesego and it’s good to have you in our beautiful nation.