Growth is painful.
Change is painful.
But nothing can be as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
People go to a therapist because there are things in life are not going as well as possible. Occupational therapists help children do things that are hard, and help them to learn how to function as well as possible in their lives.
Honestly, this past year has been a season of change. Dr. Stephanie has entered into a season where everything changed quickly. As you may know, I moved to Germany in 2017 to start a new adventure. She began working for the US Government as a school-based occupational therapist. The Foster Family sold their home, and with it the Kid’s Work clinic in Orcutt closed to begin a new chapter in life. We called this “The Great European Adventure” and it was supposed to last five years. However, sometimes our lives and five year plans turned out different. That’s life, that’s God’s way of bringing us back to exactly where we are supposed to be.
What does all this mean? This new season in life means that Kid’s Work will be re-opening on the Central Coast. In the near future, I will begin seeing the children of the Central Coast in their homes & schools, or where ever they are having difficulty functioning. In the long term, Kid’s Work will open up a state-of-the art sensory integration clinic dedicated to children and families who are having developmental challenges.
One of the goals of rehabilitation is return the person to a level of functioning where they can be independent. Honestly, with all the changes (loss of a family member, two moves in one year, and wonderful children growing up and leaving home), the end result was much more difficult to adapt than initially imagined. So, I began a series of therapy activities. At first, I felt a bit lost, unsure of the future, and what I wanted to do with my career and my passion for Occupational Therapy. Working in Germany left me excited to help children, but unsure about working within a large system where children’s needs didn’t always come first. Upon returning back to the Central Coast, I dealt with this uncertainty in the only way I knew how. I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking for God to guide my journey. I enjoy yoga, so I reconnected with my body and spirit through a daily re-awakening and exercise time. This activity helped me regain grounded-ness and understand all the stress of the move & life’s changes. Finally I noticed I was not very motivated to do anything at all. I signed up for a new activity, that of a gym challenge. Here I worked out with a personal trainer three times a week. This was a very hard time, of sweat, strengthening, and trying something completely new. Immediately, I noticed more energy & slow emergence of motivation.
Now at the end of the six week challenge, I am able to do something amazing. Dr. Stephanie Foster for the first time ever, was able to complete a pull-up!! I’ve always had weak upper body strength. Despite this challenge, I set a goal and worked hard every day to get stronger. Finally, last week I succeeded at completing an assisted pull-up. I am slowly emerging from the fog of all this change and finding a whole new inner strength and drive.
I see this rehabilitation as filled with all the characteristics I challenge my students to do:
1. Perseverance: Stick with it!! Don’t give up, even when things seem impossible.
2. Ask for help: Find someone who can support your journey, no matter where you find yourself.
3. Allow life to unfold. Your journey is one only you can take.
4. Ask God to guide your every step.
5. Set high goals. Allow yourself time to dream and shape the world in which you find yourself.
I’m sharing my journey personally and honestly with you. As I return to the Central Coast re-open Kid’s Work, I am so excited to help parents and children to face their challenges head-on. Whether you are finding that your child learns differently and needs a special type of support to succeed, or you are just not sure what your child’s behavior is telling you, I welcome you to contact me. Dr. Stephanie Foster is back, with a whole new set of skills and awareness of how to support children at home and at school.