A is for Activism
Guest Authored By Sophia P L, MS, OTR/L
As the United States undergoes major social reform, many therapists may be questioning their role in activism and advocacy for their discipline either at the local, state, or federal level. Advocating for legislation and funding directly impacts the quality of care that clinicians can provide to our clients. Initially getting involved may appear daunting, but do not fret. There are many tiers of activism. Clinicians can tailor their involvement based upon their areas of interest, resources available, and level of time commitment.
Levels of Activism
Any level of activism may directly and indirectly impact our quality of care. There are many steps you can take to advocate for your field while sitting at home, at your desk, or in-between client sessions! The following includes a list of actions you can take. These range from low to high levels of involvement and are selected to help clinicians get their foot in the door.
- Educate Yourself – Read, inform yourself, and share your wealth with other clinicians at staff meetings! Set a personal daily goal to read over one article or piece of legislation with your coffee in the morning or during your lunch break! It should only take 5-10 minutes. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has many resources regarding current legislation currently impacting therapy services.
- Write or Call – Writing or calling your elected officials should only take 15-30 minutes. These officials are responsible for pushing the legislation and funding for occupational therapy programs forward. They are interested to hear the thoughts and opinions of their constituents. Let your voice be heard! For each district you have one representative and two congressmen. To find your district and elected officials, check out:
- Attend Town Hall or Other Meetings – Call your Town Hall, pick up a local newspaper, or listen to the radio to find your Town Hall meeting time. Be present, be informed, speak up, and bring your child to advocate for the issues involving your community!
- Lobby – If this is your first time lobbying, contact a local group such as AOTPAC. Virtual Hill Day will take place September 14-18, 2020. Registration is coming up soon. Join your local group and represent your congressional district as a constituent. Just being present and informed is enough!
- Tips for Setting Up a Meeting – Perhaps you have lobbied at your state or federal level before! Here are resources to set up your own meeting.
- Tips for Lobbying
Current Occupational Therapy Initiatives During Covid-19
- Information regarding current legislature affecting occupational therapy services
- Support Hazard Pay for Occupational Therapy Practitioners – Here is a link to a prefabricated letter
- Enable Medicare Beneficiaries to Receive OT Services via Telehealth on a Permanent Basis – Here is the link to a prefabricated letter
Current Legislation Effecting Pediatric Occupational Therapy
- Mental Health –
- The Improvement Mental Health Access for Students Act (Federal – S 1782)
- Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2019 (Federal – HR 1109)
- IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- The Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act (Federal – HR 4107)
- IDEA Full Funding Bill (Federal – S 866)
- IDEA Full Funding Bill (Federal – HR 1878)
- Disability Issues –
- The READDI Act (Federal – HR 3208)
- The READDI Act (Federal – S 1755)
- ACE Kids Act of 2019 (Federal – S 317)
- ACE Kids Act of 2019 (Federal – H 1226)
Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.
Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.
Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!