Occupational Therapy OT, Alumni Stories

USAHS Master of Occupational Therapy Alumna Draws on Dynamic Foundation in Daily Practice

Lauren Janusz, MOT, OTR/L, HPCS, is an Occupational Therapist first. She highlights how her occupational therapy (OT) education catalyzes positive change for her clients. Janusz is a 1999 graduate of the first Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) class at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in St. Augustine, Florida.

“My instructors provided me with excellent foundational skills and emphasized the importance of professionalism. When I started working, people couldn’t believe I was a recent graduate,” said Janusz.

Currently, she provides school-based and outpatient pediatric OT at her clinic, Brandywine Occupational, LLC in Wilmington, Delaware.

One innovative treatment that she incorporates into her practice is hippotherapy. The American Hippotherapy Association, Inc. (AHA) describes it as how occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech-language pathologists “…use evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning in the purposeful manipulation of equine movement as a therapy tool…”

Hippotherapy is an active process. A horse moves rhythmically and symmetrically. This movement translates – the person sitting on the horse’s back feels the transition and adjusts their body with every step. This process facilitates a focus on core strength, attention skills, crossing the midline, and overall postural stability.

“My families come to my clinic for the skills we offer as therapists, and then for the horses. It’s the therapists that make the difference,” said Janusz.

A Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist® (HPCS), Janusz currently serves as President of the AHA and highlights the importance of training. For therapists who want to integrate hippotherapy into their plan of care, the AHA offers courses in treatment principles. She continues to learn and broaden her horizons by working in different practice settings – something she learned at school.

Her best advice for future occupational therapists? “Remain flexible and never stop taking advantage of the wealth of opportunities available to you,” she said.


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