The Centennial Vision

A. O. T. A. (American Occupational Therapy Association)

“Imagination continually frustrates tradition; that is its function” – John Pfeiffer

I saw this quote today in my Franklin Covey planner, and it struck me as interesting because that is exactly what I’m trying to do with my occupational therapy blog – frustrate tradition. I’ve become aware of a subset of people who are alienated from rehabilitation services such as PT/OT/Speech and have very vivid and humiliating memories of childhood experiences, done in the name of “helping”. This horrifies me because guilt and humiliation are NOT what occupational therapy is about! We’re all about the holistic, client-driven, maximization of quality of life!

I’ve also realized that the vast majority of people – even those in the healthcare field – don’t fully grasp the awesome and far-reaching power that occupational therapy can have on almost any aspect of life. That’s not to say every OT is a superhero, or that every OT embraces their roots in an Ora Ruggles pioneering fashion – but if OT is done properly, it can have amazing implications on the quality of life of so many different populations – from preemies to geriatrics. We cover the SPECTRUM, baby!!

After seeing the quote above this morning, our department chair started talking about The Centennial Vision, during our lunchtime monthly class/faculty meeting. I’ll just admit it, y’all. I didn’t fully grasp what this vision is, even though it’s been touted for a long time. (To be crass: I didn’t know crap.) I searched the internet and didn’t really find any helpful links. Then I went straight to, stumbled around a while, and finally found the basic definition of this vision. (By the way, it’s called the centennial vision since it’s based on the premise that the year 2017 is our centennial anniversary of being an established profession, and that we are working on certain goals to be met by this time.)

Here is the Centennial Vision of Occupational Therapy:

“We envision that occupational therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs.”

Some of the paraphrased goals :

  • Convincing individuals, organizations, and communities, that we are awesome and valuable
  • People understanding what we do and why!
  • Building up our OT community as well as our presence in the real world!
  • Preparing for the 21st century!
  • Linking education, research, and practice
  • Develop an image-building campaign to explain OT to the public!

So guess what, AOTA! You should totally hire me, because apparently, my OT blog is all about the Centennial Vision and I didn’t even KNOW it!! I blog partially because I’m a big giant dork and have a bad memory, but primarily because I want the world – both OT-related and non-OT related – to find out how occupational therapy can change their lives! And how valuable it is as a profession! And for prospective students to know that graduate school is hard, but SO WORTH IT!!!

Getting back to that quote, about imagination frustrating tradition. I am a huge, huge, huge proponent of OT Spirit/Identity-formation through new, technologically-driven, ways. The Internet is a very easy to spread the word.

People want to read personal stories on WHY and HOW, they want to see funny videos, they want to see touching videos, they want to UNDERSTAND…not just listen…but ABSORB!! And maybe people don’t even realize they want such things, but that’s where us imagination-driven centennial vision hugging OT peeps come in!

We figure out silly videos and songs and slogans and jokes and tell our stories, and hope that people understand. Hope that people get it. Hope that people spread the word that we are all about the PERSON and the person’s OWN priorities – not our own agendas!

Okay, I’m jumping off my soapbox. I’m leaving you with a quote by former AOTA president, and then giving you the link to go find out more about this vision, because come on, you know you want to learn more. And then you want to start brainstorming your own creative ideas to expose OT to the world! Go put batteries in your camera! Put ink in your pens! Dig out the tripod! Spread the vision!

Those who founded our profession had a vision: that occupational therapy would study and use occupation as it influences health and would educate people about its value. Many, many advances are making our founders’ vision a reality. As we get closer to the actual Centennial celebration, it is a time for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants to seize the opportunities of those changes in the health care system that place value on health and participation.
We must use our knowledge and skills to be
very visible with our contributions, which
improve the quality of the lives of those we
Carolyn Baum, President, 2004-2007

Check it out here!

Nov 05, 2007 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 2

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