Do you remember what you were doing on March 23, 2020? That’s the day COVID-19 restrictions came into play in Australia. One La Trobe graduate, however, has extra reason to mark the date.
As the country went into lock down, Kye Pearce began her career as an occupational therapist at disability support service Everyday Independence in Bendigo.
“I am working with children and young adults with disabilities from ages six to 17. My role is to help people live a life which they enjoy. This could span from helping a child toilet independently to working with a teenager on their resume and employability skills. The goals are very different depending on the person. What’s amazing is how diverse the job is,” she says.
Right now, Kye says Everyday Independence’s focus is to check on their participants and to discuss how COVID-19 has been affecting them.
“And to consider what the highest priority is for them right now and to modify goals to suit their home environment,” she says. “The biggest thing has been working with families to establish a new daily routine given the changes we are all facing right now.”
Kye is working via a mix of Zoom meetings, phone calls and home visits that adhere to strict physical distancing and hygiene rules.
“I always knew that I wanted to help people have the best quality of life,” she says. “It took a lot of searching through La Trobe course manuals and attending Experience La Trobe and open days to work out that the Master of Occupational Therapy Practice was the right fit for me.
“I loved that it encompassed all aspects of health and physical function, and offered a diverse range of subjects, such as psychology, social determinants of health and anatomy and mental health. Occupational therapy offers such a unique lens on health, I am so grateful I trusted my instincts and choose this course.”
Kye began working at Everyday Independence as an allied health assistant while she was still studying. “I first began as a volunteer in third year and in fourth year I was offered that position,” she says.
“I got to work with occupational therapists in social skills programs for kids. I was given amazing opportunities, such as planning and running group sessions. It was great to transfer what I had been learning at uni into real life.”
Kye finished her course earlier this year, then joined the team she’d come to love, as a fully-fledged OT.
“I feel absolutely ecstatic to have completed my degree and to now be working,” she says. “Some days I just pinch myself and think ‘how amazing is this!’ After all these years of uni I get to get up every day and work in a field that I am so passionate about.”