April is occupational therapy (OT) month and we want you to get to know our occupational therapists and learn more about what they do! Meet Cecilia Williford, OTR/L.
Why did you decide to become an OT?
I always knew that I wanted to work directly with others, specifically children. I routinely babysat growing up, volunteered for my church’s annual summer VBS program, worked in the nursery, etc. I have always loved children. And to narrow it down even more, when I was a kid I knew I wanted to work in an area that I could impact others directly – a helping profession focused on education, rehabilitation, and showing compassion and kindness through my interaction and work with them. Flash forward to narrowing down my area of focus for my undergraduate degree in which I chose Kinesiology. During my senior seminar course, I learned of occupational therapy. I researched the profession and soon realized their impact on the pediatric population that OTs work with as well as HOW they work with them – through play! Everything I wanted to do for the rest of my life fell into the life of an OT. I got into occupational therapy school soon after and fell in love with the flexibility, opportunities, and impact of the profession. I graduated from OT school and accepted a position at my dream setting – The Therapy SPOT! I love working for an organization whose mission is to be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud. I try to live by that everyday, and I’m so grateful to be a part of this wonderful place!
Favorite therapy toy/activity?
I would have to say my favorite is not necessarily a toy or activity, but more so a place: The Therapy SPOT (sensory) gym! I enjoy working on upper body strength, core strength, coordination, and sensory processing skills in this special and SUPER COOL place. I like to incorporate fine motor or visual motor activities through obstacle courses, onto a swing, in a ball pit, or while standing on the trampoline – the options of this space to incorporate treatment methods/ideas are endless. This is an awesome space where our kiddos can literally play with a “just right” challenge to make therapy fun while building or strengthening their skills.
What is the best part of your job?
I enjoy seeing each child’s personality come out in therapy because it is these moments that keep me grounded and remind me the importance of the little things in life. It fills my heart with absolute joy to watch a child’s face light-up as they overcome a challenge, master a skill, demonstrate an “AH-HA!” moment, or just when they’re having fun. It is also so awesome to see the parents or caregivers’ faces light up with excitement to share something new that happened at home or when they’re child runs up to them in the waiting room to tell them, “I DID IT!” or “LOOK! I MADE THIS!” I love the fact that I can end my day knowing that I made some sort of impact or difference in another person’s life. That is what really keeps me going to work through challenges and excited to meet and work with new families everyday.
What is something others may not know about about occupational therapy?
I feel that there is a misconception that OTs, specially pediatric OTs, are only focused on fine motor skills and handwriting skills. We definitely focus on those areas, but we also do so much more! We focus on increasing independence and participation in daily life routines. We actively work with children to teach them how to brush their teeth, dress themselves, feed themselves with utensils, tie their shoes, and more. As children get older we even work with following the steps to complete dishwashing, meal preparation, laundry and folding clothes, and other important life skills. Here at The Therapy SPOT, we place a huge importance on our patients understanding their bodies and learning ways to independently regulate their sensory systems so that they can effectively interact with others, safely explore their environment, increase their overall body awareness, maintain attention, and follow directions.
What is something you don’t know about me?
- I have 3 beagles: Paulson, Beau, and Duke.
- My dad is an Episcopal Priest and with that came a lot of moves during my childhood. I have lived in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia.
- I enjoy working in my yard. One thing I look forward to every season is changing up my potted plants or my front porch wreaths and other decor.
- I graduated from Georgia Southern and enjoy spending weekends at football, basketball, and baseball games cheering on the Eagles! 🙂
- I enjoy reading and baking in my free time. My husband and I also enjoy having our friends over to grill or spend time outside. The following are my “go-to’s” for snacks and salads:
- 8-10 oz of pretzel sticks
- 8-10 oz of waffle pretzels
- 8-10 oz pretzel “knots”
- 8-10 oz pretzel twists
- (1) envelope of Ranch Dressing Mix
- (2) tablespoons of lemon pepper
- (1) teaspoon of garlic powder
- (1) bottle of Orville Redenbacher butter flavored popcorn oil
- (1) large/deep/disposable aluminum pan
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- Mix pretzels in pan. Mix dry seasonings & sprinkle over pretzels.
- Drizzle oil all over and mix well.
- Bake for 30-minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. **There will be a lot of oil and seasonings on the bottom of the pan. Be sure to scoop all of that up and stir into pretzels.
- Let cool in pan.
Strawberry Spinach Salad (Pampered Chef “Casual Cooking”)
- 6 oz baby spinach (with or without stems, your choice)
- ¼ cup of sliced almonds (browned in oven at 350 degrees)
- 8 oz. fresh strawberries – sliced
- 1 cucumber – cored and sliced
- 1 small red onion – chopped
- 1 lemon – 1 teaspoon of zest & 2 tablespoons of juice
- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
- Mix all dressing ingredients and pour over salad.
- This makes 10 servings, but I would use more spinach for 10 people because everyone will want seconds 🙂 I use an entire regular sized bag or container.
The Therapy S.P.O.T. – Speech, Physical, and Occupational Therapy
Our multidisciplinary therapy center was established in 2007, and is committed to providing quality therapy services in a fun, family and child centered environment. We provide pediatric speech, feeding, physical, and occupational therapy as well as adult speech and swallowing therapy. Our therapists have unique and specialized skills and training, and we strive to pair our patients with the therapists who will best meet their specific needs. You can learn more about our services at http://www.therapyspotstatesboro.com. Questions or concerns? Call us at (912) 681-7768 for a free consultation.