Barbara Smith, MS, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist for over 25 years working primarily with children and adults with developmental disabilities. Originally from New York City, Barbara graduated from the State University of New York at New Palz with a Bachelor of Arts in English. After discovering that she enjoyed working with developmentally disabled adults, Barbara relocated to Massachusetts to earn a Master of Science degree at Tufts University's Boston School of Occupational Therapy.
One of Barbara's favorite jobs was working at Hogan Regional Center, a state institution in Danvers, Massachusetts, working with individuals with developmental disabilities ranging in age from young adult to geriatric. During this time Barbara discovered a talent for designing and fabricating therapeutic activities out of household items which she describes in her book, The Recycling Occupational Therapist, published by Pro-Ed, Inc.
Motivated to try a new work setting, Barbara began working in the Ipswich public schools administering occupational therapy evaluations to children with learning disabilities. Many of the children also demonstrated difficulties with sensory processing which impacted their abilities to pay attention, develop motor skills and interpret sensory stimuli such as what they see and touch. Barbara decided to train and become certified in the specialty area of Sensory Integration in order to better evaluate and write treatment programs for these children.
During this time period, Barbara's mother Sarah began to manifest symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Barbara relocated her to an assisted living facility with a memory impairment wing and began to read numerous books, watch videos and attend conferences in order to learn about every aspect of the disease. During the next eight years Barbara again discovered a talent for designing therapeutic activities and compiled her many ideas into the book titled: Still Giving Kisses: A Guide to Helping and Enjoying the Alzheimer's Victim You Love.The title reflects one of the last remaining motor skills Sarah retained, puckering her lips to give her daughter a kiss, up until two weeks before she passed away in 2008. This book is part memoir, part activity guide and many parts practical suggestions based on an occupational therapist's experiences.
Barbara currently works for Visions of Independence in Sharon, Massachusetts providing low vision therapy to seniors in their homes and works at a hippotherapy farm where she provides occupational therapy treatment to disabled children while using the horse as a treatment tool. She is also building a writing and public speaking career based on sharing her expertise in pediatrics and caregiving. You can read about these endeavors and much more on her website, Barbarasmithoccupationaltherapist.com.