Ivan Bachynsky, Register Occupational Therapist
I received my first Bachelor of Science degree in biology and biotechnology, from Carleton University in Ottawa, ON (1991). This was followed by a second Bachelor of Science, this time in Occupational Therapy, from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario (1995).
Career paths as an occupational therapist
Following graduation, I worked for Easter Seals in Connecticut USA providing occupational therapy in schools. I then worked in various schools in New York, Montana and Connecticut; all of which were wonderful experiences. I was married in 1999 and returned to Canada and settled in Rothesay (near Saint John), New Brunswick where I presently work for the New Brunswick Extramural Program (EMP) in the Horizon Health Network. The EMP (known by many as the “hospital without walls”) provides comprehensive home and community health care services to New Brunswickers. When I started with EMP I was the first local dedicated school-based occupational therapist.
As part of a small but dedicated School Rehabilitation Team (occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, physical therapy and rehabilitation assistants), I have had the amazing opportunity to work with a ground of highly innovative and dedicated individuals who are willing to embrace change in pursuit of best practice for the children with whom we work. The management of our team has been very supportive of innovative practice and hosting or promoting continuing education despite limitations of money, human resources, large caseloads and long wait-lists. With the support we have been able to provide occupational therapy services in flexible and adaptive ways including:
- in-class collaborative work with teachers,
- in-services for teachers and teaching assistants,
- multi-class student OT Boom Bonanza assemblies,
- Circus and Comic Book Cursive camps,
- direct hands-on-therapy,
- involvement in student-serviced teams, and
- practice and school-based service work groups.
One of my most exciting occupational therapy roles has been as an instructor for ABC BOOM/ABC BOUM Multisensory Approach to Handwriting (www.abcboum.net). Nathasha Rouleau, and occupational therapist from Ergothéraphie de la maison à l’école in Montreal Quebec (www.edme.org), developed this practical, fun and easy method to teach handwriting that is used daily by therapists and teachers.
Since the program has been adopted at many local schools, the school staff has gained handwriting teaching tools that have resulted in a large reduction of occupational therapy handwriting referrals. I have had the opportunity to teach this course/method to hundreds of teachers and occupational therapy peers.
My wife Jennifer is also an occupational therapist and we have three wonderful young boys. We participate in many activities as a family especially skiing, biking, snowshoeing and lots of outdoor play.
In my spare time I teach indoor cycling classes, train for and participate in triathlons, play water polo and am on my Church’s parish council.
Greatest tools in my occupational therapy bag of tricks
ABC BOOM!, School AMPS, Snakey and Bal-A-Vis-X
Greatest Influences to my occupational therapy practice
Anne Fisher, (Umea University, Sweden); Terry Krupa, (Queens University, Kingston Ontario); Stanley Greenspan, (Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning Disorders – ww.ICDL.com); and Natashe Rouleau, (Université du Montreal and Ergothérapie de la maison à l’école, Montreal, Quebec – www.edme.org)