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Meet Peter | Occupational Therapist

July 23, 2021
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Mike Ralston
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Meet Peter, occupational therapist at Solace Pediatric Home Healthcare. A member of the Solace team for two years, Peter earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Florida.

Describe your role at Solace:

If I had to give an “elevator speech” on what an occupational therapist does, I would say something to the effect of, “an OT teaches clients how to perform basic activities of daily living”. For adults, these are activities such as brushing your teeth, using the restroom, putting on clothes, etc. While this is true for children, it can all be tied together with play! Play is how children are able to interact with their community, how children are able to learn new skills, and how a child is able to find where they fit in their environment. I incorporate a highly play-based approach in my therapy sessions to teach children new skills and be able to apply them in other environments, such as being able to take turns when playing with other children, or translate the skills needed from placing clothes on a doll to placing clothes on themselves, as well as help teach some gross motor skills for a child to be able to navigate their community or play games with other children.

What do you like most about your job?

My favorite aspect of working with my families is learning about new cultures. Being a diverse city, such as Denver, I get to work with people from all over the world – Eritrea, Mexico, Vietnam, and Nepal to name a few. During my time with the children, I get to learn more about where they come from, occasionally sample popular dishes, and pick up bits and pieces of their native languages. I have a lot of fun pointing out some of these places on a map with my kiddos!

What do you find most challenging about your role with Solace?

Working with so many diverse cultures, I suppose, at times, the main challenge with some of my families has been a language barrier; however, I have access to various translators through Solace, which makes bridging this gap a bit easier. I have also been learning Spanish during my spare time as a way to communicate with families more directly. Conversations during therapy don’t always have to be all about business. I like learning about what the family did over the weekend, or about what the kiddo ate for breakfast, and how the family’s goals for therapy can change!

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I enjoy the great outdoors and am always planning the next road trip into the mountains. My favorite Colorado pastime is mountain biking and you can find me all over the Golden area pedaling up a hill, or at a bike park crashing down said hill! I also enjoy camping, video games, and disc golf!

What is your proudest accomplishment?

I have always had a passion working with children with special needs, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder. As such, I would have to say earning my Masters Degree and moving to Colorado to continue the work that I love.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspirations are my parents. Being born to immigrant parents, I am very grateful to have been able to travel back and forth between the Philippines and Austria and grow up with two cultures. My mother also worked as a teacher assistant in a classroom for children with Autism, where I spent many summers volunteering, so without her, I would not have discovered my current profession!

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I was born in the Philippines, and lived in Austria, with German being my first language!

How would someone describe you?

I would say that people describe me as rambunctious and fun-loving, yet compassionate and flexible when the situation calls for it. I am usually the first to celebrate the tiny milestones, like when one of my kiddos stacks a block to when one of my older kiddos is able to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I like to describe myself as going with the flow, which helps quite a bit during sessions with kiddos that I work with.

What would you be doing if you weren’t working at Solace?

I have some experience with children in outpatient, school, and some acute care (hospital) settings. I suppose if I was not working with Solace, I would probably seek opportunities with Children’s Hospital.

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