Thank you for asking "Who is OT Mom?"
I’m Tracey le Roux, a homeschooling mom of 3 with a background of pediatric occupational therapy (OT).
Greetings from Hermanus, South Africa!
Here's a bit more about me!
I studied Occupational Therapy at the University of Cape Town,
graduated with my BSc in OT in 1997, and completed my postgrad studies in Sensory
Integration in 2001.
In my early OT years, I was part of a thriving Occupational Therapy Private Practice for children in Cape Town, where much of my work focused particularly on Learning Disabilities and Sensory Processing Disorders. As part of our practice, I was involved in 2 local schools where we treated learners on the school premises.
I have been married to André since 1998 and we have 3 awesome kids - 2 boys and a girl - born in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
After relocating to Hermanus in 2003, I "retired" from Occupational Therapy to focus on being a wife, mom, and pastor's wife. So I am not currently working in a formal occupational therapy setting.
In 2006 I became involved on a part-time basis with Enlighten Education Trust, an NGO whose aim is to uplift and support the local schools, many of which are struggling with a lack of resources. I worked a couple mornings a week, helping disadvantaged first grade kids to develop the skills they needed for school.
I have also been involved in running training workshops for teachers in order to give them activities they can use in their classrooms to develop gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and more.
After a few years in the trenches, I trained a
team of motivated facilitators who are continuing this work at various local
schools, working with kindergarten and early elementary learners. I am now an occasional consultant for the project, which enables me to focus on homeschooling my own kids.
Through my work in the local communities, I have become passionate about empowering parents to help their children develop the foundation skills they need for school. The challenge has been to do this in an environment where few funds are available, and many of my OT Mom activities have thus been developed from inexpensive everyday materials.
Handing my work at the schools over to a team of facilitators has given me the opportunity to focus on homeschooling our 3 precious children! I can honestly say that it has been the best decision we have ever made for our family!
It is challenging, and I am constantly being stretched out of my comfort zone, but the Lord is gracious in meeting our every need, be it physical, emotional, spiritual or mental!
I had plenty of opportunity to put my OT training
into practice on the home front with our children, who have experienced, between them, challenges with
sensory processing (sensory over-responsiveness, sensory seeking, and
sensory based motor disorder), fine motor issues, gross motor and coordination issues, and visual
and auditory processing delays.
As a result, OT Mom Learning Activities is full of practical ideas that you can use to help your child at home. Tried and tested!
My passion for supporting parents to help their own kids started with my work in these schools, and I was challenged to come up with activities that can easily be done by families in impoverished communities.
Not all the activities fall into that category, as I do sometimes suggest making use of therapy-type products, but on the whole, I try to make activities “doable” for parents who have a tight budget and little time. Parents like me!
I completely understand how challenging it can be to have a child who has special learning needs, and who struggles with things that other kids don’t struggle with. I also completely understand how challenging it is to fit therapies into a budget and into a week, not to mention getting homework done as well. That is why I try to keep my website and e-book activities simple and achievable.
Building this website has enabled me to stay at home with my children and yet still help other parents and kids (all around the world - how exciting!).
I share my OT Mom website building story over here, if you're interested!
If you are reading my website or e-books, I need to make something very clear – I am not doing this as an expert or someone with a doctorate in her field.
I am a very normal occupational therapist, and I started my website purely to help parents and teachers to better understand the issues that kids may struggle with when they start school, and to equip those parents and teachers with activities to promote normal development in order to give kids the best possible start in formal schooling.
The information I have put on my website is there to inform and inspire based on my own experience, my own observations as well as training and discussions with fellow therapists over the years. While I attempt to keep up with current research and publications, I in no way consider myself an expert, nor have I had time to conduct or publish formal research myself.
While I try and include relevant references where possible, I cannot back up every suggested activity, photograph and/or observation with scientific data.
When I was formally working as an occupational therapist, every therapy session was planned with the needs of that particular child in mind. There was no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy. Over the years, some activities became my go-to favorites to help address particular issues, and it is these kinds of activities that I attempt to share with parents and teachers on my website and in my e-books.
While I am encouraged by students and therapists who contact me to let me know that my information is helpful, my website and e-books are not designed to be used as reference tools for academic purposes.
I am always honored and delighted when someone links to my website or references it in some way, but please do know that my OT Mom resources are not meant to stand as a formal expert source.
Having said all that, I am delighted that you are here, and I trust that my activities and information will be useful to help a child that you are involved with.
I could not write this page without a reference to the Lord Jesus, who has given me life and hope in Him. I have a severe to profound hearing loss, was dependent on lipreading and was told as a child that I would not be able to work with people (my early dream was to be a doctor), and that I should go into research or work with books. My heart was crushed as I always wanted to help people.
After accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1991, He became my inspiration and my strength. John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full [abundantly]”. And so it was that I studied OT and came to have a passion for helping children.
And beyond my wildest dreams, I have recently (2015 and 2016) received cochlear implants - the whole hearing journey has been amazing and soooo inspiring. I will hopefully share a page here soon about the whole experience!
I give God all the glory for what He has done in my life, and for enabling this website to happen!
I trust and pray that you will be encouraged as you strive to help the children in your life!
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