Perception Affects Reality: Focus on Progress
“Perception is reality” is quite true. If you perceive there are flying unicorns out your window, then you are going to act like it, because that’s your reality. Now of course, everybody around you realizes your perception isn’t reality, but that doesn’t help you when that’s how YOU see it.
I often write parents, praising their children’s improving skills. Only if it’s true, of course, but probably more often than necessary. But I think it’s so important because parents (and the rest of us) need to change our perceptions. Of course we work with children who struggle for a variety of reasons, but when we focus on skill deficits and their challenges, we sometimes forget to let them grow/learn because we always want to help. I think one of the most valuable skills OTs have to learn (and teach others in helping roles) is HOW TO SIT ON THEIR HANDS. Patience. Such a virtue.
Do you all remember those studies showing that if you told teachers that some of their students who were performing poorly were actually quite brilliant (regardless of whether it was true), then came back later to check in, that those kids were actually doing much better?? Because the teachers perceived them differently and treated them accordingly. The teacher’s perceptions influenced reality and it made it happen.
When you work with children in OT, obviously they need supports and you are there to help, but try to remember to influence parental and team participation in a positive way. Support a perceptual shift that always focuses on PROGRESS, not deficits.