The dreaded “you’re only” or “all you do” qualifiers. I’ve been haunted by these statements all my working life. When I was a teacher, I often heard, “Oh, you’re only a preschool teacher.” I guess preschool teachers don’t teach. Or I was told “All you do is play all day.” Yes, that was a big part of my day, but not all of it, and who’s to say there’s anything wrong with that? Don’t under estimate the power of play. I had thought that going in to OTA would reduce the amount of “you’re only” or “all you do” I would hear. I was/am totally prepared to explain what OT was to every other person I encountered but I had believed that those who did know would have a bit more respect for what OT practitioners did. Instead I’ve heard “well, all you’re going to do is work on hands” or “the only thing she can do is teach you to eat”. This coming from PT’s, nurses, etc that have worked with OT’s and still this is what they have to say. I just don’t get it and I find it sad. So now I find myself having to explain to every other person what OT is and also having to defend my choice to become an OTA. Aptly, my Intro to OTA instructor told us in class yesterday that we will hear, at times, in our future careers that we are “only COTAs,” to which we are to respond, “No, I AM a COTA.” I look forward to that day.
Has any one else had these qualifiers applied to what you do? How do you respond?