Thursday, September 20, 2007

How I started working as an OT in Cairo...

I have often been asked how I started working as an OT in Cairo, so here is a brief summary:

Four years ago I moved to Cairo and a few months later I started working at the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in Maadi. As many people are aware, the theory of "6 degrees of separation" often happens in Cairo! My husband was talking with a new colleague about how his wife was an Occupational Therapist and looking for work. This colleague then told him her mother was a co-owner of a center for children with disabilities. Contacts were exchanged and I soon started working at the LRC. I am no longer surprised at who knows who in Cairo!

The LRC had a history of working with foreign OT's, so the owners and staff had a good understanding of the role of OT with children.

For the first two years, I was the only OT on staff and had some staff members who assisted with some sessions.

The third year, I had a German OT, Angelika join me at the LRC. Angelika stayed for the school year before returning back to Germany to pursue her Master's in OT. That same year, an American OT, Sena, moved to Cairo due to her husband's job and joined our staff.

(Oleh playing with RUSH HOUR, by THINK FUN)

The fourth year, I had a French OT, Emilie join our staff. Emilie stayed for the school year before returning to France. That same year, a British OT, Karen, also moved to Cairo due to her husband's job and joined our staff. Now, I am beginning my fifth year at the LRC and the OT department has grown in all sense of the terms of therapy rooms, equipment, caseload, and staff.

This year, Karen and Sena remain on staff part time and we have a Lebanese OT, Farah, who just joined our staff. Previously, none of our OT staff spoke Arabic, so it is an asset to have Farah join our team.

At the center, we treat children of various ages with various diagnosis. Children's ages range from a few months old to teenage years. Children who attend OT sessions have a wide variety of difficulties, such as impairments in:

*fine motor coordination

*gross motor coordination

*muscle strength


*visual perceptual/motor coordination

*cognitive abilities/attention

*sensory modulation/processing

*emotional/behavioral responses

*functional abilities (self help, play and school tasks)

The children attending OT services may also be attending various programs offered at the center, such as the School Readiness Program, Home Schooling Program, Family Child Support Program and Early Intervention Program. They may also come to the center for various testing (i.e. Cognitive and Academic Testing) and tutoring sessions.

I was lucky to have a few students who were nice enough to let me photograph them in their OT sessions. So, a BIG thanks to them!


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