April is the OT month celebrated worldwide. April is designated as OT month by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). AOTA is a parent association of Occupational therapy, celebrate April as National Occupational Therapy month. In this month AOTA organizes its annual conference and Expo. Similarly, another part of the world also celebrates April as OT awareness month. This is the right time when everybody (OTs) celebrates this month for promotion and OT marketing.
It is the duty of national, state or city association to involve each therapist for the OT awareness campaign because still very few people know what is occupational therapy?
In this article, we will try our best to share the best ways to celebrate and promote OT.
Best ways to Promote OT –
There are many ways to promote OT, some are expensive and some are inexpensive.
Let’s talk about the Expensive ways to promote OT (expensive ways can be taken up by the big associations or big hospital or group of OTs)
#1 Advertisement – we all know that, how Ads impact our lives and thinking about the product, Ads help a small company to become a brand. Similarly, the OT association/council can do Ads on television, Newspaper to promote OT. As OT month/OT day is the official occasion, which therapist can use for marketing and promotion of OT.
#2 Conference stall –
OT association or OT center can take participation in others conference for building the link between the two related professions. For example, OT awareness stall in pediatrician’s conference. This may improve referral service in the future. Conferences attended by budding doctors can aware about the role of OT in their field like the role of OT in pediatrics.
Now, let’s talk about the inexpensive ways to promote OT (it can be done by individual OT)
*Join community and contribute
*organize free therapy camps
*Organise seminar/ presentation on conference
*Medical school lecture
#1 Social Media – Today, everyone knows the power of social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are some best example of social media and its reachability is beyond imagination. You (OTs) can set OT logo or poster as a cover photo or profile photo in your social account. Plus, you can share some quality articles about OT on social media. More, you can make a small video with your patient and then share it on different social media account.
#2 Communicate OT –
Occupational therapists are the best person to communicate about OT to others. When someone asks you, “what do you do?” then you must clearly say, “I am an occupational therapist”. He/she may further ask you, “what is it?” then you should tell him/her what it OT and its role in different areas. This will help to create awareness among the others. You can share your business card mentioning OT and your specialized area of practice. Always try to write down OT after your name in email or postal card (as a signature). Patient’s caretaker/ parent also acts as a catalyst to communicate OT and its beneficial effect on the patient to others.
#3 Turn Your Car into a mobile billboard–
A mobile billboard business promotion isn’t just for delivery vans. You can print out removable stickers of your therapy center mentioning occupational therapy as the main service can be pasted on the car. You may also mention your website address on the rear windshield of your car.
Whenever and wherever you drive your car or park your car, you are just promoting your business and profession without taking many efforts.
#4 Blogging/ writing articles-
Writing articles on topics related to OT is an excellent promotional technique. Well written articles can provide free advertisement and build a positive reputation by publishing on the established website and famous newspaper. The newspaper is also a very good platform; you can send your articles to newspaper agencies. If they find useful for the general public, they may publish it.
#5 Join community and contribute –
Community service is a good way to promote your field and your business. You can go nearby community and provide your services to the needy one. For example, you can choose any NGO based old age care home, where you can go and teach them about their self-care, leisure activities, modification in kitchen and bathroom, adaptive devices and many other things. It will create goodwill, plus you can get a media coverage for the charity work.
#6 Organize Free Camps-
Many hospitals offer free checkup camps or subsidy in fees. This is also a very good strategy to get costumer initially. So, you can also offer a free screening or OT consultation in your center. During camp, you can distribute OT pamphlets to the patients and their caretaker or parents.
#7 Wearing OT apparels-
Wearing OT apparels in a mall, garden and therapy center also helps to create a buzz about OT in general public. OT T-shirt, jackets are available in a market, just get it and wear it and show them all that you are an occupational therapy practitioner.
#8 Talk show-
An Interaction in Talk show organizes by TV channels or by radio channels on the occasion of OT month or OT day is also helpful. Some TV channel calls the therapist, physicians, surgeons to discuss the disease or disorders like Autism, Dementia, cerebral palsy, ADHD, etc., if any therapist gets this opportunity, just grab it. It will be beneficial for the therapist and for the promotion of OT.
#9 presentation in conferences–
Medical Conference or medical continuing education program is generally attended by many doctors. You can ask them (conference coordinators) to permit you to present a PPT about the role of OT in their area of practice. For example, a presentation on the role of OT in dementia in a Neurology conference.
#10 Organize seminars-
You can also reach out to the schools and for the high school going students, organize a seminar or lecture about OT, OT as a career and its job perspective. So, they may join OT as a career in the future or at least they have some insight about the occupational therapy.
#11 Medical School Lecture-
OT profession is mainly a referral based practice. OT services are referred by the doctors of various fields that mean more awareness to the doctors is directly proportional to the more referral to OT. You can organize a lecture about OT and its practicing areas to the medical school students (budding doctors). In addition, you can request students to visit your therapy center, so they can understand what an occupational therapist do? And they also should know the difference between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.
Ways to Celebrate OT month- Ideas and Activities
OT month (April) or world OT day (27 October) is the right time to celebrate occupational therapy. Here we have summarized some of OT month celebration ideas and activities. Just have a look….
1.Say thank You !!
2.OT lunch/ dinner
3.Share info online
5. Personalized gift
6. Play Party
7. outdoor activity
8. cake cutting
9. Fancy dress
10. Return gift
#1 say Thank You!!
When we Celebrate something? Obviously, when we enjoy it. Same way, you celebrate OT month because you enjoy doing OT. You must say thank you to all who helped you to enjoy the journey as an occupational therapist. It includes teachers, parents, patients, caretaker, other professional colleagues like a physical therapist, speech therapist, nurses, etc. you can say thank you by giving them a card or a flower or a bouquet.
#2 OT Lunch/dinner-
It feels good when you go out for lunch or dinner to celebrate something. Likewise, you can plan a lunch out with colleagues. It also boosts up the relationship between you and your colleagues. It also promotes better team building. Plus, you can share your thoughts with them.
#3 share info online –
as we have discussed it above, sharing is a good way to celebrate and to promote OT. Many articles are available online, so you can share it. Additionally, you can change your profile picture to celebrate.
This is the fun way idea to celebrate OT month or OT day. Decorate your therapy unit or center. Balloons, ribbons, stickers are the best ways to decorate. A special kid in your therapy center will definitely enjoy your decoration.
#5 Personalized gifts –
Personalized gift’s impact more than a general gift. You can offer personalized gifts to your colleagues, patients, caretaker, parents, other. It includes pens with OT logo, a bag with the logo or your clinic’s name, OT badge, OT T-shirt, diary with a cover of OT, OT logo printed on a mobile cover.
#6 Group therapy-
Pediatric OT and geriatric OT can organize a play party or group therapy to celebrate OT month. Pediatric OT can call all the children’s taking therapy with her/him. In the same way, geriatric OT can also plan out a group session with senior citizens. During this, simple group games/activities can be played like passing the parcel, musical chair, etc.
#7 Outdoor Activity-
You can also plan out an outdoor visit with your clients to celebrate OT. For example, a group of special kids can be taken out in a garden for sensory awareness activities like swing, slides etc.
If nothing is feasible for you, you can at least cut a cake with your patients, colleagues to celebrate OT.
#9 Fancy dress-
You can ask your kids (clients) to come with fancy costumes like Batman, Spiderman, Superman and then organize some play activity for them. It helps to develop social interaction and role modeling in special kids. Furthermore, it creates a positive impression on the parents of these kids.
#10 Return gifts-
Either you are organizing a party, outdoor activity, or lunch/dinner. It’s best to give a return gift mentioning OT or logo of OT. A simple keychain with the logo of OT or a coffee mug with the logo of OT will always keep reminding them about OT.
So, do whatever you want, wherever you want, just celebrate our own occupational therapy profession. Happy OT month 🙂
If you have any good ideas to celebrate OT month, you can share it with us.