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new graduate occupational therapist story from therapy pro

Hear From a New Graduate: An Occupational Therapist Client Story

New graduate occupational therapist Peony has been thriving at Therapy Pro since the start of 2023.

With a 12-week ramp-up program and multiple shadowing and mentor shadow sessions, Peony has had a fantastic year of exposure to a large variety of clinical experiences.

In this client story, Peony reflects on the importance of rapport and relationship building with the client and family and how this is especially important in the early childhood space.

Peony acknowledges one of Therapy Pro’s values, Be Warm, as the source of her rapport building. Creating a connection with the client, Peter*, and the client’s mother, Julie*, allowed Peony to work closely with Julie to develop goals for Peter.

Similarly, building these relationships let Peony incorporate activities that aligned with Peter’s interests and focused on Peter’s strengths, making therapy enjoyable and engaging for him.

Client Background & Peony’s Implementations

Peter, a 5-year-old boy with autism, was referred to Therapy Pro for Occupational Therapy due to several areas of concern, including:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Limited motor skills in drawing and writing
  • Emotional regulation challenges
  • Struggles with self-care

Peter was reported to have a strong attachment to his mother, Julie and was resistant to engaging with previous therapists. Peter had limited verbal communication and would scream and cry during the day, often resulting in exhaustion for Julie and Peter.

Before Peony even began her therapeutic support, she recognised the importance of rapport building, as Peter had been resistant to new therapists in the past.

Peony involved Julie in their first session and encouraged child-directed play throughout to overcome this initial hesitance.

In their first few sessions, Peony identified that Peter was very creative and liked playing with playdough. Following this, she incorporated playdough activities when working on goals including letter recognition and handwriting.

This incorporated Peter’s interests to make the learning process fun and enjoyable for him, resulting in more engagement and better results.

Alongside supporting Peter, Peony assisted Julie in finding strategies to improve Peter’s independence in self-care.

Client Outcome & Learnings

Upon starting Occupational Therapy with Peony, Julie reported seeing some incredible improvements in Peter’s behaviours and abilities:

  • Peter is happy to engage with Peony individually – allowing more free time for Mum!
  • Peter is learning and using more phrases in his communication
  • Peter has improved his pencil grasp and pencil control
    • Drawing lines and shapes
    • Improvement in learning pre-writing skills (an important step toward being able to form letters and write effectively)
  • Showing vast improvements in self-care – Julie reported Peter’s behaviour has improved, and he is doing more for himself
    • Taking nappies off
    • Washing himself during showers

Further to these outstanding achievements, Julie commends Peony, saying Peter’s emotions are most regulated on the days when he has occupational therapy sessions.

This is a huge compliment to Peony as a therapist and is a positive sign that the occupational therapy is well-suited to his needs.

Peter, Julie, and Peony still have goals to work on but can be proud of the results and steps they have achieved so far. Peony’s most recent recommendation to assist Peter is using Assistive Technologies to support toilet training.

Celebrating Occupational Therapy Week 2023

In 2023, October 23 – 29 is Occupational Therapy Australia’s Occupational Therapy Week. The 2023 theme is ‘Unity Through Community’.

Peony reflects on her time at Therapy Pro through the lens of this year’s theme, identifying:

  • The Therapy Pro interdisciplinary community
  • The wider Australian occupational therapy community
  • The student community she recently graduated from
  • The NDIS community.

Peony finds that these communities have a strong impact on the way she operates in her role.

Peony ensures she is inclusive and considerate of cultural sensitivities in her therapy practice by actively listening and observing. She creates a space free of judgement and is warm, curious, and respectful.

She is thankful for the continuous professional and personal growth that comes with each client.

“The opportunity to learn and apply new knowledge and techniques is motivating. The occupational therapy field is diverse, and the variety of cases is never-ending. It makes my work interesting and exciting! I am thankful for the relationships I have with my clients and the trust they put in me. It is incredibly rewarding to receive positive feedback from clients. It is an honour to have clients make progress and express gratitude for my support!”

*All client details have been de-identified*

Looking for Occupational Therapy Support Services?

Follow the link to our Occupational Therapy services page for more information on how our Therapy Pro occupational therapists support individuals, families and communities.

View Peony’s profile for her areas of experience, availability, and service locations.


If you’re looking for support, whether for yourself, a family member, or a client, reach out to our team, and we will connect you with a therapist in your area.

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