What do you love most about being an Occupational Therapist?
I love that occupational therapy is all about cultivating success in everyday activities. Occupations for us mean anything a person needs or wants to do in his or her daily life. For kids, their most important occupation is play! There is no better job than playing with children to help them learn and have fun!
What is your favorite children’s book?
My favorite would have to be The Giving Tree. I think it has such a beautiful lesson, and Shel Silverstein’s illustrations are so unique.
What do you enjoy most about living in Chicago?
As a Texan born and raised, Chicago was quite the change for me! I love the views of Chicago most, especially those of the skyline or river. It is such a beautiful city, whether covered in sunshine or snow.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I fondly remember playing board games with my grandmother. She played harder games with me, such as Scattergories or Scrabble, and she always had so much patience. I certainly think this is why I love incorporating games into my sessions, and why I use that same patience with the kids I work with in therapy.
Would you rather a mountain or beach vacation?
I would pick a beach vacation without a doubt. I am a fan of warm weather, and I think the sights and sounds of the ocean are wonderful.
Share a proud “therapy moment” with one of your clients.
I am a strong proponent of learning the child’s own goals. One little girl with cerebral palsy wanted to learn how to brush her own hair. One little boy on the autism spectrum wanted to learn how to make himself a snack. Some of my clients on the autism spectrum want to have a best friend. Nothing makes me more proud than to help these children achieve what is important to them.
What is your hometown?
I was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like exploring the city. My fiancé and I will often go to a new neighborhood and walk around for hours, trying new restaurants and shops. I also enjoy reading novels, taking boxing classes, scrapbooking and crafting, and playing board games.
What is your favorite therapy toy?
I love using pretend play food or picnic sets. They encourage great imaginative play skills, along with social skills and fine motor skills.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I can play the alto saxophone.
Kristen McManus, MOT, OTR/L