Our guest this week is Sarah Putt of Seattle, WA, the mother of young child, the founder and clinical director of Sarah Bryan Therapy, and Creator/Host of the OT 4 Lyfe Podcast, dedicated to promoting and bringing awareness to the field of occupational therapy.
We’ll learn about Sarah’s background with degrees in psychology from Pepperdine University and masters in occupational therapy from University of Southern California, which prepared her for a career as an occupational therapist. We also learn about her role as a leader in the OT field, which includes mentoring younger OTs and hosting the OT4Lyfe Podcast, now with more than 100 episodes.
It’s a uplifting as well as insightful story and one we’ll hear this week on the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast.
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahputt/
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Bryan Therapy – https://sarahbryantherapy.com
OT4Lyfe Website – https://ot4lyfe.com
Tom Couch: Special thanks to Horizon Therapeutics for sponsoring the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. Working tirelessly to research, develop, and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about Horizon Therapeutics’ mission at horizontherapeutics.com.
Sarah Putt: It takes a long time for us to start to make progress, and there’s a lot of trust and respect that needs to happen. And trust me, I’ve had my fair share of parents like, “I don’t think you’re doing a good job. My kid is just crying the whole time.” And I’m like, “Just trust the process, and we’ll get there.”
And yeah, I think it’s those moments where the families can kind of start to reflect, like, “That’s where we were.” And because of the work that I’ve done—and of course other practitioners, because I know that I’m not always the only one on the case—but because of the work that we’ve done, we’ve been able to support these families. And honestly, that’s really what lights me up. It’s about supporting people, supporting parents, empowering parents, and helping them and their kiddos live the best lives that they possibly can.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to The Dad to Dad Podcast, fathers mentoring fathers of children with special needs, presented by the Special Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help, or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com/groups and search dad to dad.
I am thrilled to be talking today with Sarah Putt of Seattle, Washington, the mother of a young child, the founder and the clinical director of Sarah Bryan Therapy, and creator/host of the OT 4 Lyfe Podcast, dedicated to promoting and bringing awareness to the field of occupational therapy. Sarah, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Sarah Putt: Thank you, David for having me. I am honored and really excited to be here and for the chat we’re going to have today.
David Hirsch: You and your husband Ray have been married for seven years and are the proud parents of a typical one-year-old daughter. Let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your family.
Sarah Putt: Ooh, I love this. All right, so I am a California native. I was born outside of San Francisco, but basically I grew up in Los Angeles, and yeah, I mean, I say I’m a California native, because most of the people that I have met in my adult life since being in California, they moved there.
And so when people find out, they’re like, “You were born in California?” And up until about a year and a half ago, I was still living there. I now live in Seattle, Washington, because my husband got a new job and we had to move. But up until that point, I was still there, and people were always shocked that I was born there, and that I was still living there, and that I hadn’t moved away.
Well, clearly, now we know where that happened. Oh gosh. A story about my family. I feel like there’s so many that kind of come to mind, but I think it’s because…actually, I was just talking to my parents the other day, and they brought this up. And I think it’s one of those things when you’re growing up and when you are the one doing it, you kind of forget all these other things that happen until you take a step back and start to reflect and think.
So I grew up riding horses, and I showed competitively, and I mean, I spent every waking minute that I possibly could on the back of a horse. And actually both of my parents were huge support systems for me. But my dad in particular, he would be the one who would always take drive me to my competitions. We’d wake up at four in the morning or five in the morning, and he’d be driving me an hour plus to get me to my competitions.
And I don’t even know how it came up the other day, but we were talking about that, and just how many hours, how many wake up calls, how many miles the two of us spent as he was taking me to my competitions. My mom would show up later, but it was always him that was driving me to these events all throughout Los Angeles. It’s just one of those things that I had kind of not thought about in a while, and we were talking about it. I was like, “Oh man, I remember those days. Those were a lot of fun.”
Most of the time I’d fall asleep in the car, so I’m sure my dad was like, “This is great, just driving her, she’s sleeping.” But you know, there’s still these important moments that are happening, even though, I might have been sleeping for a portion of it. So yeah, that’s kind of what comes to mind first.
David Hirsch: Great. Well thanks for sharing And it sounds like there was some father-daughter bonding time there as well. Did you have any siblings growing up?
Sarah Putt: Yeah, I have an older sister. She’s three years older.
David Hirsch: And is she also in California, or not?
Sarah Putt: Nope, she’s in Colorado and she has two little ones at home.
David Hirsch: Great. So out of curiosity, what did your dad do for a living?
Sarah Putt: He was an engineer, and he’s now retired.
David Hirsch: What type of engineering did he do, or what type of work did he do?
Sarah Putt: He was doing consulting engineering and worked in aerospace type stuff. When he retired, a lot of the stuff he was not able to tell us about what he did. So I can’t go into too many details there, but yeah.
David Hirsch: Okay. Well, thanks for sharing. How would you describe your relationship with your dad?
Sarah Putt: It’s special. I think it’s one of those things…when you talk about the relationship with your mom or the relationship with your dad, each one has kind of their special and unique meaning behind it and feeling behind it. And gosh, this is like making me a little teary just thinking about it. It’s definitely a special relationship that the two of us have.
And I know he supports me in whatever I do, and all my crazy ideas. And it’s been pretty cool to kind of watch how it’s developed and maybe changed throughout me being a child, and then becoming an adolescent, and then going off to college, going to grad school, and now me becoming a mom myself.
There’s been some changes of just how we operate, but I know that he’s always there to support me. I know he loves me, and I have to tell you the smile that my daughter gets on her face and the noise she makes when she sees her Baba is like, “Oh my God.”
Like every time I’ll call, it’s really funny, like my mom will answer, because usually I’m calling her phone. My dad’s not the most technologically savvy person. And so my mom’s talking to my daughter, and she’s smiling and laughing and whatever. And then my dad will get on the screen and she stops what she’s doing, and she just lights up and she makes this squeal.
I mean she absolutely loves her Mimi, but there is something different about her Baba that every single time it’s like, just wait for Baba to get on the screen. And her whole mood completely changes, and she gets so excited when she sees him. So he’s been such a support system for me growing up and into my adult years. But now getting to kind of watch it through the eyes of my daughter is a whole nother ballgame there.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. It’s a special relationship that grandparents, grandmas and grandfathers, for that matter, share with their grandchildren, and it’s a new dimension to life for them. What a blessing it is.
So I’m wondering if there’s any important takeaways from your relationship with your dad, perhaps beyond the items that you mentioned, mostly the support that he’s provided you from start to finish, lessons learned, something that you’ve tried to incorporate into your own parenting for that matter.
Sarah Putt: Hmm. I’m still new to this whole parenting game, and with my little one being so young, I’d have to take a second and actually think about it. I’m sure there’s things I just really hadn’t had the time to reflect on quite yet.
But I think the thing that really kind of comes to mind with my dad’s and my relationship is he’s not always the most vocal about things. Like, if I’m going to talk about something to somebody in my family, I’m going to go to my mom or my sister.
But I always know that even though there might not be the words, or that I might not go to him right away to talk about things, I always know that he’s listening, if that makes any sense. His voice in my head is always there. And so he’s almost more of like this guiding light for me, even though he might not be the one that I go to to discuss my problems or to vent to, or anything like that.
I feel like he might be more of the calm energy, the grounded soul, that once I’ve processed through it, I know that he’s going to be happy with what I end up doing in the outcome, if that makes any sense at all.
Where do I want to go with this? I feel like even though he might not have a lot to say about something that I’m doing or maybe even a response to a question, or something that I’m venting about, I always know that he’s there to support me.
David Hirsch: Yeah. What I think I hear you saying is that he has a presence, and while he might not be overly verbal or vocal, he’s made a strong impression on you, and he’s part of your conscience. You admire your dad and the love and affection he has given you, and his opinion means something to you. Right? That’s what I heard you say.
Sarah Putt: Yes.
David Hirsch: So I’m thinking about other father influencers, and I’m wondering what, if any relationship you had with your grandfathers.
Sarah Putt:, I’d have to say that my dad’s dad passed away when I think I was in about third grade. So reflecting back, I didn’t have a huge relationship with him, just because he did pass away when I was pretty young.
But my mom’s dad, he lived into his mid-nineties. I would say that I definitely had more of a relationship with him. He lived in Northern California, basically where I was born. And so while we didn’t live in the same area, we still got to go visit a handful of times a year. They’d either come down to us when they were still able to travel, and or we would go up there. So I had more of a relationship with him just because I was around him more into my adult years.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. Well, it’s a blessing to get to know your grandparents, right? Not everybody gets to meet their grandparents or gets to know them as an adult, like you were referring to.
And, you know, it’s an equal blessing when the grandparents get to meet and get to know their grandchildren, and see them blossom and grow into adults themselves. So thanks for sharing.
Sarah Putt: I’ll throw in one more thing just because it’s kind of cool. My daughter just got to meet her great-grandmother, the only living great relative. That was about a month and a half ago. And that was a pretty special thing, because I wasn’t able to do that. And, I would say not many people have that opportunity. So that was pretty cool.
David Hirsch: And how old is your grandmother?
Sarah Putt: So this is on my husband’s side. She is, I want to say, 93.
David Hirsch: That’s amazing. Thanks for sharing. So my recollection was that you took a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Pepperdine University in Malibu, and a masters in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California. And I’m wondering, when you were starting your career, where did you think things were going to go? What were your early visions for where your career was going to go?
Sarah Putt: If you would’ve asked me when I was in middle school, high school, maybe early college—I forget when I actually changed my mind. But I grew up knowing that I was going to become a veterinarian. This goes back to the horse riding days. Call it an obsession. I loved animals. We had dogs and cats growing up. I owned a couple of horses, and I was like, I’m going to be a vet.
Then one day I was thinking about it, and I was like, “I don’t think, even if I had to, I don’t think I could put an animal down. All right. I probably can’t be a vet.” It seems like a very little reason to ditch that path. But for whatever reason, it pulled me away from becoming a vet.
And when I started in undergrad, I always knew I liked helping people. I had worked at school districts before. I had volunteered at homeless shelters. I had done this type of stuff, but I really didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.
And I stumbled into an intro to psychology class and fell in love with it. I literally declared my major that day, or maybe after the second class. And I was like, psychology’s super cool. I really like learning about how people think, how to interact with people, and all of that. I graduated with my psych degree, but still at that point I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Psych is a big field, and you can get into a lot of things doing that.
Like I had mentioned, I had been working at some school districts. So in between the semesters of undergrad, I would go back and work at a local school district. And I started as a para-educator, and then I moved into more of a behavior therapist role.
And then the summer after I graduated, I was working at a preschool for kiddos with special needs. And that is actually where I found out about occupational therapy and really where I found my love for this field. And it was at that position that the aides in the classroom, the teachers, the other specialists that were on the campus, everybody was kind of trying to funnel me into figuring out exactly what it was that I wanted to do.
My supervisor at the time was a speech therapist, and she was like, “You should go do speech.” And so I’d follow the kiddos that were on my caseload to their speech sessions. And then somebody would say, “Oh, go check out physical therapy.” Then one day we were sitting down at the table while the kids were eating lunch, and one of the aides in the classroom looks at me and she goes, “You know, you’d make a really good OT.”
And I had never heard of it before. I didn’t know what that meant. But fortunately, I was able to go and meet the occupational therapist that was at that school with one of the little boys that I was working with. And I remember this like it was yesterday. We had to walk down from the main part of campus this building that was off to the side.
And I’m walking down with a little boy, and he’s all excited. I’m like, “I’m going to go check out this whole OT thing, because I don’t know what it is.” It was just letters to me at that point. And when we walked into the room, and the little boy’s eyes just completely lit up. I mean, he just got so excited seeing all the toys, the ball pits, the scooter boards, the swings, everything that was in this little sensory clinic.
And I have to say, I got pretty excited too. I was like, “Wait a second. There is a profession that I get to quote unquote ‘play’ all day? Yes. Like sign me up.” And I met the OT there, and she was so passionate about her job. She loved it. And her energy just like oozed out of her while I was there.
And pretty much that day I went home and I started researching how to become an occupational therapist. Where are occupational therapy programs that I can apply to? I started less than a year later, and I haven’t looked back.
David Hirsch: So was that what led to you getting your master’s in occupational therapy at University of Southern California?
Sarah Putt: Yeah. I researched a lot of programs. I applied early to a couple of them, and USC was one of the first ones I heard back from. And basically I had two options at that point because I had applied early. I was like, “I can either stay in my backyard and go to one of the top universities that just happens to be right where I’m living, or I can pick up and move across the country and go to another school in a different state that I hadn’t been to before.”
And I was like, “You know what? I know getting a graduate degree is going to be hard, so I’m going to stay in my backyard, and I’m going to go to USC.” So that’s what led me there.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. Thanks for sharing. So what do you think it was that this person saw in you who said, “I think you’ll make a good occupational therapist?” What was clairvoyance about?
Sarah Putt: Ooh, man. I gotta do some self-reflection here. I’m not the best at talking about this type of stuff. I think she probably saw that I was passionate about working with kids and helping kids, and that I was good at it too. This was after just a few summers of experience and a couple of volunteer experiences that I had had previous to this.
I think she saw that I was creative in figuring out how best to help the kiddos. And she probably saw that I was really good at collaborating with a team, working with the aides in the classroom, working with the teacher, working with the other specialists, as well as involving the families and the caregivers of the kiddos themselves. So it be interesting to go back and actually ask her what it was that she saw, but that’s kind of what comes to mind for me.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. Sometimes people see things in us that we can’t see ourselves. And what a blessing it is when you look back and try to connect the dots, where these people are engaged in pivotal moments in our lives. So I’m always curious about that.
So, you’ve had a pretty interesting career, even though you’re still a relatively young person. My recollection was you started out as a pediatric OT at Greco’s World in Culver City. And then you became a contractor while you were in Los Angeles, and that led to you starting your own company, Sarah Bryan Therapy.
And along the way, one of the things that I noticed is that you’ve had some what I think of as extraordinary volunteer experiences as well. So it’s not just always doing a job, making a living. A couple of the things that caught my attention were the Peruvian American Medical Society and the Cambodian Health Professionals Association of America.
And I’m wondering if you could reflect on some of those volunteer experiences before we jump into your career and your company.
Sarah Putt: Yeah, this is one of my favorite things to talk about. There’s kind of two things that happen here. I love traveling. Of course, this is pre-pandemic when we were able to travel a little bit more. But before Covid, I was going out of the country three or four times a year, as well as traveling domestically. I mean, I was constantly going places.
And I love the aspects of travel—to learn, to grow, to be pushed out of your comfort zone, to meet people that you’ve never met before, to eat food that you’ve never tried before, and to really be exposed to things that are outside of what you’re comfortable living in and your day-to-day routines. And I think I thrive on just pushing myself out there and seeing what else is there. And so there’s this huge travel piece that I love.
But after I’d been traveling for a while, I started to realize that I wanted to either meet local occupational therapy practitioners or students or faculty, or if there weren’t OTs there, I wanted to be able to volunteer and give back some of the knowledge that I have to help some areas that might have limited or no access to occupational therapy.
So I originally found out about the Peruvian American Medical Society through my husband’s old roommate when he was in business school, because he was the volunteer coordinator for this program. And he was telling me that they go to Peru every year. It’s a team of medical specialists, doctors, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, they’ve had speech language pathologists go, and then just the general volunteers that will show up. They go for about a week or two.
And when I heard about this, I was like, “Yes, sign me up. Like my bag’s packed right now. I’m ready to go.” And he was like, “Okay, okay. We’ve never had an occupational therapist before. I don’t know exactly how you’re going to be able to help.” Because he actually has two kids with special needs himself, so he had a general idea of what he did. And at that point he’s like, “I’m not sure where you’re going to fit into this medical trip.” And I was like, “Okay. Well, you know how to find me, because I’m ready. Like that bag’s just going to stay packed until you give me the go ahead.”
And I think I waited about two, maybe three years. And then he finally came back from their most recent trip and was like, “We’ve got a spot for you. We just found an outpatient pediatric clinic, and they have a physical therapist there, and they have a brand new OT that had just graduated. She was there as a volunteer that was looking for more mentorship.” And I was like, “That’s exactly what I want to do.”
So I was able to go with them that next year. And that first Peru trip really opened my eyes to so many things, both personally and professionally. And it was hard. I’m not going to lie. It was an extremely hard, extremely emotional experience for me to go through seeing the level of need, seeing how some of these kiddos were struggling with some of their occupations, how the parents were struggling being able to attend to the kids’ needs.
My days were super long. When I am volunteering, I am working from the time the sun wakes up in the morning until way into the darkness. The days are super long. But it is such a wonderful experience. And again, it goes into kind of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and figuring out ways that I can best help people.
I know that I’m only there for a week or two, but I really try my best to provide all the education I possibly can to the families, to the local specialists—the PTs that are there, the OT who was working with the kids—and really just share any sort of knowledge that I have or insight into the conditions, or anything that can best support these families even when I’m not there.
And that’s a huge part of doing any sort of international volunteer work. It’s not about just the time that you’re there—it’s really making sure that there’s carryover, and that everyone can be doing the work regardless if you yourself are there. So that was the first volunteer trip I did.
David Hirsch: So out of curiosity, did you go to Lima, or were you in the countryside when you were there in Peru?
Sarah Putt: So I was actually in a town called Ayacucho, and you have to fly there. And oh my gosh, it’s been two years. I want to say it’s about an hour and 45 minutes. Don’t quote me on that, but it’s over an hour flight from Lima, kind of up into the mountains a little bit, a little bit northwest, I want to say, of Cusco.
David Hirsch: I’m just curious. Thank you for sharing. And I love this concept of pushing yourself to get outside your comfort zone. It’s something that I can relate to personally, and the phrase that you use, “My bags are packed,” I’ve used that phrase so many times. It’s just like letting people know I’m ready. You know, just give me the signal. So thank you for sharing.
And what about the Cambodian Healthcare Professionals Association?
Sarah Putt: Yeah, so basically because of my Peru trip—I like to call them chronic volunteers—there are people that go to one volunteer trip, and then they end up going here and there and all over the place.
So going to Peru and meeting the team of volunteers I was working with there actually connected me with some of the other trips that I’ve done since then. So I met a few people that go to Cambodia. I also got connected with a group that goes to Honduras as well. And so because of that, there’s a handful of people that go to Peru and also go to Cambodia.
And while we were there, they were telling me about Cambodia. And my husband and I had been talking about going there. We really wanted to travel to Cambodia. And so, no joke, I’m sitting at dinner with maybe five or six people that also go to Cambodia. This is in Peru. And we’re talking about our day, but then it transitions into how they’re getting ready to go on their next trip to Cambodia.
And I was like, “Wait, what? You guys go to Cambodia? Okay, hold on. I want to go.” My bag’s still packed, right? So maybe six months later we ended up going on that Cambodia trip. And my husband was actually able to go along and be a volunteer on that trip. Previously he had gone to Peru with me, but he showed up after I did my volunteer work. We went around and traveled and did Machu Picchu and all of that.
But he was actually a part of the Cambodian volunteer organization and the work we were doing there. That’s a whole nother podcast episode in itself, to talk about what happened there. But that’s how I got connected, and really how you stay connected.
And going back to your point about having your bags packed, it really is about being open to these opportunities. You might not know what’s going to happen and what’s going to become of it, but if you don’t open that door and say, “Yeah, let’s try it out,” you never know exactly what could happen next.
David Hirsch: Well, let’s talk about special needs. And I’m sort of curious to know, prior to pursuing a current occupational therapy, did you have any exposure to the special needs community?
Sarah Putt: Yes, a little bit. Like I had mentioned, working in the school district, being a para-educator, being a behavior therapist, I had I would say limited exposure. Also, my senior year of undergrad, I did a…hold on, what’s the word I’m looking for? It’s where you can take a course where you pick where you’re going and you could actually do volunteer work and get course credit for it. And I can’t remember what that’s actually called at the moment, maybe like a directed study or something like that.
And I volunteered at a special needs preschool while I was there. I was going two days a week. And thinking back, that was probably one of the experiences where I first remember really working with kids that had special needs. I think some of my experience up until that point, maybe I just hadn’t noticed it, or maybe I just hadn’t really thought about it before.
But there were definitely a couple kiddos that I remember working with when I was volunteering that I knew they needed additional supports within the classroom. The teachers needed additional supports in supporting the children. And so that’s my earliest memory I could say of working with and maybe even kind of uncovering this passion that I have for working with kids with special needs.
David Hirsch: Excellent. So I’m sort of curious to know, once you got into the field, was there any meaningful advice that helped steer your career?
Sarah Putt: Gosh. I don’t know if it’s any like specific advice, but what I would say, it’s actually more of an energy, and maybe this even ties it back into what I was saying about my dad. I think it was this energy that came from the very first OT I met, the person who introduced me to the field.
Meeting Francesca at the preschool, I mean, she has been such a inspiration. Probably for six to eight years afterwards, she had no idea that she had been this person to me, but she’s the reason that I decided to pursue occupational therapy, besides the aide that planted the seed that told me to go.
Then I met Francesca and was like, “This is my career. I don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but OT is really what I need to be doing with my life.” So it’s not really specific advice, but it was something about the energy, it was something about the stars aligning that day, that really brought me to the field of occupational therapy. And honestly, it was just jumping in.
It’s interesting. Being a podcaster, when I’m interviewing guests, I start to draw parallels—and now I’m like drawing parallels in my own story here. But it’s jumping in, and jumping out of your comfort zone. And I didn’t know what OT was, but there was a calling, there was something that was drawing me to it, and I jumped in.
I really didn’t look into it all that much. I was just like, “Yeah, this is it. I’m going.” And I really haven’t looked back since. So I don’t know what that says about me. I just like to like jump in, and figure it out as I go. And I base a lot of what I do kind of on this feeling and the energy that’s surrounding it.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. So I’m wondering, who is Francesca Avalli, and what is Therapy Works LA?
Sarah Putt: So when I met Francesca, she was working for the same school district I was working for. Then at some point in the six to eight years that I went to school, graduated and started working, she had started her own private practice. Like I said, we didn’t have any contact during that time. Basically, she inspired me to become an occupational therapist, and then I took it and ran with it. After that summer that I was at the school, I ended up transitioning to another school, and I didn’t get to see her anymore
But she’s an occupational therapist. She has her own private practice in Los Angeles. And the cool part of the story is I was actually at the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in Nashville back in 2014, 2015, something around there. They have this big expo hall where there’s tons of vendors and thousands of people walking around. Again, pre pandemic here.
I was by myself. I’d never gone to any of the AOTA conferences before. I showed up to that conference, and I was walking around, and all of a sudden I walked past this booth. And I’m like, “I know that girl. I know her somehow. I don’t know how, but I know her.” And I think I like circled a couple times. And I was totally awkward, trying to figure it out.
And then finally it dawned on me, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, she’s the reason that I became an occupational therapist.” And I finally placed it. She was the OT at that preschool. And so of course she was busy talking to people. I waited patiently for her to be done, and then I just walked up, and I was like, “Hey, you probably don’t remember me, but I had to tell you that you inspired me to become an occupational therapist, and here I am.”
I had been practicing at that point for five or six years. Since that day, we talk more on a regular basis. and we stay in better contact. But she was just like, “I had no idea that I had inspired you in that way.” It was cool. We snapped a picture.
I guess you never really know who or when you can inspire somebody by what you do or what you say, or even just how you make them feel. And she had no idea until I came back and was like, “Yeah, I went to OT school, and now I’m a practitioner.” I had just started my own company at that point. And it’s all because of her.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. So, you’ve educated me a little bit about occupational therapy, and I know that you’re super energetic about this. What do you think you enjoy the most about occupational therapy, the work that you do?
Sarah Putt: Whew. That’s a tough question, because honestly, I could talk for hours about everything that I love. Why do I enjoy the most? I think from my direct clinical work that I do with the kiddos and their families, the thing that I enjoy the most doesn’t start at the beginning, but I’ll get to it.
I come in and feel all of the stress and emotions and anxiety and guilt and whatever these not so positive emotions are from the family and from the kiddos when they’re first getting a diagnosis. Maybe they’re first just starting to realize that their kiddos aren’t meeting their milestones. Or maybe a doctor has said something like, “Hey, you should really get this checked out.” Or the parents are really struggling with something within their child’s life.
And I think going in and meeting some of these families when they’re at rock bottom, at least in my outsider opinion, right? I’m not in their shoes, but I feel like when they’re sharing their stories with me and we start digging into some of the history, they feel like they’re at their wits end. They’re struggling with everything.
Starting at that moment, and then over time, whether it’s a couple weeks, a couple months, a couple years, getting to the point where the kiddos start making progress and the parents feel supported, the parents feel empowered, and getting to a point where all of a sudden the families are like, “I never thought that my son or daughter would be able to do X, Y, and Z,” whatever skill we were working on, or that they’d never hit the milestone.
And seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces—the kids, the parents, the siblings, the grandparents, the aunt, the uncles, whoever is involved—I think that’s really what does it for me. Because my line of work is not easy at all, and a lot of the times I am supporting families with really big struggles, and it takes a while.
It takes a long time for us to start to make progress, and there’s a lot of trust and respect that needs to happen. And trust me, I’ve had my fair share of parents say, “I don’t think you’re doing a good job. My kid is just crying the whole time.” And I’m like, “Just trust the process, and we’ll get there.” I think it’s those moments where the families can start to reflect, “That’s where we were.”
And it’s because of the work that I’ve done, and of course other practitioners, because I know I’m not always the only one on the case. But because of the work that we’ve done, we’ve been able to support these families, and honestly, that’s really what lights me up. It’s about supporting parents, empowering parents, and helping them and their kiddos live the best lives they possibly can.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. And what I think I heard you say is learning and understanding where they’re at, meeting the families where they’re at, and each family is a little bit different, so it takes some time just to put your hands around or wrap your mind around what’s going on, like the bigger picture. Not just at the child’s level, but you know what’s going on, what are the family dynamics. That’s what I think I heard you say.
And then helping, identifying what is the underlying cause or concern, and then coming up with a solution, right? What’s the strategy or what’s the plan? And then trying to implement that plan. And like you said, sometimes things progress very quickly and other times maybe not so much, because we’re all human beings, right? We’re all wired a little bit differently and some things work and some things don’t. You’ve got to get another tool out of your toolbox and then see where the leverage is going to be. Where are we going to be able to make some forward progress?
And sometimes—I don’t know this from a firsthand experience in the OT world, but just from a business standpoint—sometimes it’s one step forward, two steps backwards, or two steps forward, one step backward. And, you know, you have to be flexible. If it was a science, you’d just say, “Oh, take this pill and give me a call in a week or two.” But we’re talking about human nature, and there are a lot of unknowns. That’s my way of thinking about it.
Sarah Putt: Oh, completely. It’s the exact same way. I mean, there are times that you’re like, “Yes, we’ve overcome that little hurdle and we’re making progress.” And then all of a sudden you show up, and that kid is not having it that day, and you’re like, “Oh, right. Now we’re taking a couple steps back.” And that’s just the way it is.
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned being an occupational therapist is learning to be flexible and meeting the families where they’re at every single day. Because you never quite know what’s happened since the last time that you were there, what is going on in their current moment at that moment, things maybe somebody has said to them. There’s so many experiences and so many stories that are just popping to my mind.
And I think one of the really unique parts about what I do, specifically working in early intervention, is going into the clients’ homes and working directly with those families. A lot of times they open the doors, I’m going into their houses, I’m sitting in their living rooms, their kitchens, bedroom, wherever we’re doing the session, playrooms, and I almost quickly become a part of their life.
I know the extended family, I know all the siblings. I get to know their schedules of when they go to school and when they have swimming and when they have their birthday parties. And it gives me such a unique perspective to be so closely intertwined with these families. I’m able to kind of paint this broader picture of understanding what is specifically happening, and then working with the families to figure out how best I can support them. Because of the knowledge, the expertise, and the years of experience I have, I can support these families based on where they are in that moment, and then throughout kind of the therapeutic process.
David Hirsch: Fabulous. So, not to focus on the negative, but I’m wondering what some of the bigger challenges are.
Sarah Putt: Well, the biggest one that comes to mind is the emotions, and really the stories I have heard and that I have become a part of. Walking in to cases where kiddos have been born significantly premature. We’re talking 23, 24, 25 weeks. I’ve walked into cases with where there’s been medical malpractice that has happened, and it has caused delays with the child. I have walked in where parents have told me that their spouse is going to leave them because of the diagnosis or because of the delay.
And I mean, that’s just a handful of the things I’ve been exposed to. And the emotionality of practice as an occupational therapist is probably one of the hardest things, because each story is a person, it’s a family, it’s an extended family, and you never quite know what you’re walking into.
And every kid, every family is unique. So even though I might have been a part of one journey that was similar to what somebody else is starting to tell me, there are all these other moving pieces. I think after years and years and years of that happening, it started to kind of build up in me, and I realized I was becoming so invested.
I mean, I love what I do. I love my clients. I love the families, I love the caregivers. But I knew I really had to pay attention to my own health as well. If I’m struggling emotionally, I can’t show up and support the families that are struggling emotionally. And so learning to kind of navigate that, of how can I best show up for my families while also making sure to take care of myself? I think that’s been one of the biggest challenges.
And while I say that is a challenge, I also think that is one of the blessings that we get to deal with…or that we get to be a part of, I think is a better way to put it. As a part of being an OT, we do get to be a part of these families’ lives, and meet them where they are, and offer support, offer advice, offer encouragement, offer a shoulder to lean on. So it’s definitely a challenge, but it’s also one of the things that brings the beauty in our life too.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. It sounds like that would be one of the reasons people get knocked out of being OTs. They just get drained and it’s just too much. Life has its own challenges. We all have our own personal challenges, and if that’s what you’re doing for a living, it seems like your bucket would get drained. And at some point you’re just like, “I don’t know how I can handle this.”
It just seems like certain people are wired for this. Obviously you are, and maybe some people like the work, but not so much that they can do it. They can sprint, but they can’t run the marathon, if you will.
Sarah Putt: Yeah. My husband always comments, “You’re one of the most patient people I’ve ever met.” Now I feel like since I’ve had my daughter, my patience level is being tested a lot. My husband is not in healthcare, he’s not an OT. He deals with computers and numbers and business, and it’s a completely different kind of world.
But day in and day out with me just sharing some of my experiences, he always just looks at me and is like, “I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t do what you do.” And I’m like, “Really? For me, that’s my life. How could you not do it?” But he’s just like, “No, you’re a special breed. You can handle that, and you can continue to put yourself in these situations.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I guess so.”
I mean, it’s not for everybody, and especially thinking about early intervention when we’re thinking about the kiddos that are birth to three years of age, a lot of these diagnoses, a lot of these…let me back up. A lot of what is happening is happening right at the beginning of their life, whether it happens when they’re born or within the first couple months or years.
So the work that I do as an OT in early intervention is extremely specialized, meeting these families early on in their journey. This is where a lot of the families haven’t even had time to cope or understand or reflect or think about it because it’s just happened.
I’m walking through with them as they are getting a diagnosis or going about genetic testing or anything like that. So I guess it’s a different perspective, starting at such a young age and so early on in these parents’ journeys. So again, yeah, it’s hard, but it’s also kind of a special thing, working in early intervention. You get privy to that, and it’s just a unique thing about that practice area.
David Hirsch: There are different approaches to occupational therapy. And I’m wondering, how would you describe the team model, as well as the parent coaching model?
Sarah Putt: Great question. I guess I should start by saying that depending on where you live, what region you’re in, every early intervention program is set up slightly different across the states, and then of course, throughout the world. So I can really only speak to my experience working in Los Angeles, as well as some of the conversations that I’ve had with some of my colleagues that might work in other areas and other states.
But basically the team based model is really focusing on having multiple, various members of the team within the early intervention program. So that could be occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, maybe some sort of behavior. There could be psychology, there could be nutrition, vision, hearing. I mean, there are lots of different specialists, again depending on where you are. Infant stimulation is another one.
So the team based model is really where you are utilizing the team working together with a specific case. And again, every area is slightly different, but some of the areas that I’ve heard of will have one person potentially be the contact person for the case. So maybe it’s the OT that’s going in, and then they go and collaborate with all the other specialists on the team.
Or maybe there’s a handful of the specialists that will actually be like working one-on-one with the child. But then they have other team members as part of the team, but they’re not going in to see the family, if that makes sense. So it’s much more that team approach of collaborating with everybody.
Different regions are set up to foster that relationship a little bit more and that collaboration. And other regions, there’s definitely kind of some limitations, whether it has to do with funding, whether it has to do with the geographical region, where maybe the specialists don’t happen to be all in the same area. So that is kind of in a nutshell the team-based approach and what it looks like.
And then the parent coaching model is really kind of a framework of how we go about our practice. It’s not necessarily just us showing up, working with the child, and then being like, “Okay, bye, mom and dad. Bye, grandma, grandpa. This was super fun. I’ll see you next week. You have no idea what I’m doing.”
It’s really showing up. You can do the work with the children, but the coaching aspect is what’s super important: explaining, highlighting, and I should say sharing the information with the families, so then they can have that carryover while you’re not there. Because we show up once a week, once a month, and work with the kiddos and work with the families, but the families are there 24/7 with these kiddos.
So they really need to understand what it is that we are doing, where we’re trying to go, what we’re addressing, and how we’re going to get there. That way when we’re not there, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, siblings…I mean, I’ve had so many siblings actually carry out treatment activities, and setting things up.
It’s having that lens of not just doing the work ourselves as a practitioner, but collaborating with the families, and sharing what it is that’s going on, and coaching them through kind of our therapeutic brain and our therapeutic process, so they understand what it is and they can kind of carry it through too.
David Hirsch: I’m just sort of curious if it’s the concept of catching a fish for somebody or teaching them how to fish that comes to mind. Which is you can do the work right and be gone, or you could take the time to show somebody else how to do the work, sort of empowering them to help themselves, if you will, help their family. Is that sort of what you’re talking about?
Sarah Putt: Yeah. An example that comes to mind is a lot of the times when I’m going in and I am doing some sort of physical movement…for instance, let’s talk about rolling. We’re trying to facilitate a child to be able to roll. And I can sit there and I can have the family watching me and I can be like, “Okay, you’re going to put your hand here, and you’re going to move their hand here, you’re going to bend their knee and blah, blah, blah, and you’re going to do this. And then watch.” And then they roll, and their family’s like, “Yay. Okay, great.”
And then I’m like, “Okay, your turn.” And then I’ll step back and I will let whoever is there step in. And they sit there, or they move their hand a little bit, they adjust their positioning, and then they kind of turn back and look at me. And they’re like, “Okay, wait, hold on. How did you do that again?”
So then I’ll walk them through how to do it, and really kind of empower them. “Oh, now I understand it.” Because it’s easy just to watch somebody else and be like, “I get it. Oh, that makes total sense.” But when you actually have to do it yourself, then all of a sudden you’re like, “I don’t know where to start. Oh, okay. I get it.”
David Hirsch: Excellent. Thank you for sharing. So let’s talk about your podcast just a bit. You started it in October of 2018. You’ve had more than a hundred episodes. What motivated you to create a podcast, to become a host?
Sarah Putt: So there were a couple different things that were happening, both professionally and personally, I guess I could say. Professionally, based on some of the traveling that I was doing, based on going these conferences, a lot of what I’ve brought up in this conversation already… oh, and I should also add, I’m a fieldwork educator, so I also educate occupational therapy students as part of their internships too. So all of these things kind of combined.
Needless to say, I was meeting a lot of really, really interesting and fascinating people within the profession, and they were telling me these stories of what they were up to, their projects, their research, the private practices that they were starting. And I was so inspired by everything that I was hearing, I was like, “I just want to share this with the world. I’m glad that I’m learning it, but I want other people to hear what these amazing OT students and practitioners are up to.” That was what was happening professionally.
And then also because I work in early intervention, I was driving to my clients’ houses, day in and day out. I was spending on average three hours in the car—not all at one time, but like 10 minutes here, 15 minutes, driving from one, one house to the next house, to the next house. So I had a lot of time in the car. And also remember, I work in Los Angeles, so I mean, I was sitting in traffic. I was on the 405, I was on the 110. Anybody that’s from Los Angeles, you know what I’m talking about.
So I had a lot of time to basically listen. I mean, I could listen to music, I could make phone calls. But somehow I stumbled upon podcasts and absolutely fell in love with podcasts. I just started consuming them left and right. But at that point I did not know about occupational therapy podcasts. I was listening to business podcasts, real estate, finance, you name it, all these other ancillary things.
And then one day I came across a physical therapy podcast, and I was like, “What is this magic? It’s not OT, but it’s close enough. I can totally resonate with what they’re saying.” And then that got me thinking, like, if there’s physical therapy podcasts, are there OT podcasts? And so I went down the Google rabbit hole of, what OT podcasts are out there?
And at the point that I was doing this research, this was probably 2017, I came across maybe three to five active OT podcasts that were actually putting out consistent episodes. There were a couple others that hadn’t released in six months or a year or anything like that.
And I was like, wow. There were hundreds of physical therapy podcasts, thousands of speech language podcasts at this point, and less than a handful OT podcasts. And I was like, “Something needs to change.” So that was the professional side of it.
Then I kind of have my personal reason for why I wanted to start a podcast, maybe going back to wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone. So growing up I was extremely shy, to the point where I had multiple people make comments like, “This girl, she’s so shy, she doesn’t talk.” And it’s been something that I have been actively working on and facing throughout my years.
And now looking back as an OT and having some of this training, I definitely think I had some sensory modulation, maybe some sensory processing stuff going on—you know, self-diagnosing. But I was super shy. I tried to not take classes in college that you had to have like a public speaking component, because I would get up there, and I would just start shaking uncontrollably, and I couldn’t handle it. And I just always felt like a failure.
And so after many, many years, I decided I didn’t want to hide from this. I didn’t want the anxiety that public speaking causes me anymore. I decided, “Okay, there aren’t enough OT podcasts. I want to share these stories that I’m hearing from the people that I’m meeting, and I want to overcome my own public speaking hesitations anxiety.” And so those three things combined, and I was like, “Well, I guess I’m starting my own show.”
David Hirsch: I love the story. Thanks for sharing. I’m sort of curious to know, with as many episodes as you’ve done, is there an episode or two that comes to mind that you felt like is the most impactful?
Sarah Putt: So, you know, I’ve been asked that. Speaking of public speaking, I’ve been doing some presentations recently for some state OT conferences and some student groups at universities and whatnot, and everyone always tends to ask me like, “What’s your favorite episode?” And it’s hard, because every episode is unique. It’s like me talking about my families, right? I can’t pick my favorite family, my favorite kiddo, because every story is so unique and every story is special in its own right.
I think I’d have to say that my favorite episodes, or the ones that are the most meaningful or the most impactful, I have two. It’s episode 50 and episode 101. And actually both of those episodes have almost been reflection pieces on the episodes up until that point. So episode 50 was basically where I shared clips from episode 1 to episode 49, and then I kind of threw in my own thoughts in this discussion.
And then I did the same thing for episode 101, where I went from episode 51 to episode 100, and I was sharing clips from those shows in that episode and what that really means to me. And I guess the big reason for why I wanted to do that was to highlight the voices of our field and really showcase community.
I mean, I listened to hours of my own episodes, pulling out the perfect clip of, what does this actually signify for our profession? What does this mean? What inspiration can we gather from this? What can we learn from what this practitioner or what this student had said? And so I’d have to say that those two episodes probably stand out the most, and it’s a little bit of a cop-out, because those episodes encompass all the other episodes. Those are my favorites.
David Hirsch: Well, thanks for sharing. If I can paraphrase, it’s like a highlights reel, right? You know, you’ve gone back and you’ve taken some sound bites or what I think of as the gold nuggets from some of the prior work you’ve done or some of the content you’ve created. So I love it. So we’ll definitely try to showcase those two episodes.
I’m thinking about advice now and I’m wondering, what advice you can share with parents, specifically dads, about helping raise a child with a disability?
Sarah Putt: As I’m thinking about my response to this, I am honestly being flooded by memories of the dads—specifically the dads I have worked with in my practice, whether that is a stay-at-home dad or a work-from-home dad. Maybe the mom works outside of the house, or maybe they are a single dad or something like that.
I’m thinking about those dads, but I’m also thinking about the dads that maybe didn’t have the luxury to work from home or be a stay-at-home dad, but they would make the effort to show up to therapy, whether it was the five minutes that I’d show up and then they’d leave to go to work, or they’d come back at the very end of the session, or they’d pop in for a minute.
I think the biggest piece of advice that I have is: your presence is known. And I think that’s shown in my own story, when I’m talking about my dad. Maybe he wasn’t the most vocal, but his presence was known in my life. And so even if you can’t be there a hundred percent of the time or you have other responsibilities, knowing that your kid knows that when you are there, your presence is there and even when you’re not there, they can still feel your presence, and it can potentially have a guiding light for them.
I think that’s really what I’ve seen. And honestly, I’ve worked more often than not with moms, grandmothers. I can really count all the dads I’ve mainly dealt with and worked with. But there’s a special energy, a special bond that happens when I am working with the dads, or when they’re involved, even if they are just popping in and asking a question, or even just coming in and smiling that their son just did something that he hadn’t have been able to do.
I don’t know if that’s advice, but I think just knowing your presence, and then also saying your lack of presence can be known.
David Hirsch: The word presence means a lot within the Special Fathers Network, because I talk about the importance of being present, not just financially, which is what the state cares about, but being present physically, emotionally, and spiritually in your child’s life. And you know, the most important thing a father can be is just to be present. So thank you for emphasizing that.
So I’m thinking about advice that you would share with moms about getting their husbands or the father of their children more engaged.
Sarah Putt: I might come at this from a personal perspective rather than a professional perspective here, because I’ve definitely had some reflections now having a daughter of my own and watching her interaction with her father. And I think especially being a professional and having 12 plus years of experience working in pediatrics, specializing in early intervention, really understanding this birth to three years of age super well, I think a lot of things come easy to me.
A lot of things, when I’m specifically talking about engaging, playing, being with my daughter, a lot of things come easy, where I can read her signs, I can read her signals. And it’s not to say that my husband can’t do that. That’s not it at all. But I just don’t think it comes as quickly, or maybe that he thinks about things the same way that I do. I mean, we’re all different, right?
And so it’s taken allowing him to show up in the ways that he wants, but also for me to understand how I can support him to continue to show up, or to tweak things a little bit of how he could be doing it a little bit differently. And not just saying like, “Well, you’re doing it wrong,” or, “You’re not doing it my way,” or anything like that.
But really it’s supporting and empowering. And I keep going back to these words, because it’s not to say what he’s doing is wrong, but based on my professional experience, now I’m able to kind of bridge that gap for him and help him see some different sides to it, because this is our first child. This is his first child. Like he’s never worked so closely with a young child before.
And I have to kind of put myself in check. I mean, like I’ll see her two minutes before she starts crying, and I’m like, “She’s going to start crying. She’s not going to like this.” But he has to wait for her to start crying, and then he is like, “What did I do? What has happened here?”
So I think it’s understanding where they’re coming from, but then allowing them and supporting them to continue to show up. And if there are some different things, it’s not blaming them for doing it the wrong way, or what you think might be the wrong way, coming from a mom that’s also a professional. Does that make any sense? I feel like I just went in circles.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, I think if I were to try to paraphrase what you said, Sarah, it’s understanding that we each have different levels of experience, and don’t be too quick to criticize or to think that there’s another way of doing things. And just being open-minded, and trying to be more encouraging and supporting, is what I heard you say, as opposed to being judgmental and corrective. So thank you for sharing.
Sarah Putt: I’ll elaborate just quickly on that. I think too, especially for the moms that are with the kids throughout the day and spend more time with the kids, it’s easier for us to understand exactly what our kids are going through, how well they’ve slept, when they just ate, all these other things.
And my husband is able to work from home, so he gets to come up and see her, but he doesn’t know what’s happened in the last hour, the last 10 minutes or anything like that. So a lot of times it’s exactly what you said, it’s he doesn’t know exactly what’s happened throughout the entire day.
David Hirsch: So it’s important to put things in context. That’s what I hear you saying. So, the 21st Century Dads Foundation has developed an early intervention survey for parents, and I’m wondering what advice can you provide to get more of these zero to three families to complete a survey, or perhaps to partner with organizations who serve these families?
Sarah Putt: Honestly, I think one of the biggest things that comes to mind is just the awareness piece, being aware that something like this is out there. In my experience, I know that there are still plenty of families that don’t even know what early intervention is. They never been exposed to the knowledge that there is help out there for these families.
And I think the other piece that kind of goes with that is that stigma of a label or a diagnosis. I have seen many times where parents and caregivers will show up for an evaluation through the early intervention program, but then they’ll decline services, because they don’t want a label for their child. Or they feel like this whole thing is just going to follow them throughout their child’s life, and they’re just not ready for it.
And one of the biggest things I feel like I’ve seen and I’ve really solidified throughout my practice, is that the importance of early intervention is not to throw a label on a child and be like, “Okay, you’re just going to be this way for the rest of your life.” It is to show up and help these families where they’re at. Give them the supports, give them the strategies, and then allow the child and allow the families to grow into that. And knowing that the earlier we can start, the better potential outcomes that we can have, is huge.
And waiting. While I understand that there are people who have their reasons for wanting to wait for services, getting in early is super, super important. So kind of going back to what you were saying, with this kind of form, with this questionnaire, it’s that awareness piece, but then also it’s understanding that this is not just to label and throw them in a box. This is to find support. This is to be able to empower our families, to empower the fathers at such an early age, and figure out how we can do our best as a team.
This is going back to the team-based model, how we can best collaborate together to support the dads, support the families, and ultimately support these kiddos at such a pivotal time in their life.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well stated. I agree that the most important thing is just creating a certain level of awareness, educating these young families about the services that are available and somehow de-stigmatizing this so that they see it as a positive, as something that is going to help their child, versus “Oh, I don’t want a label.” I think that’s a form of denial. They don’t want to accept the fact that there might be a deficit of some type, or to even contemplate that.
And like you said, these families are so young. Oftentimes if it’s not a first child, they’ve got super young kids, and everything is sort of new and can be overwhelming. So, thank you for sharing. I’m sort of curious to know if there’s anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up.
Sarah Putt: I think I’m good.
David Hirsch: That’s fair. Let’s give a special shout out to Effie Parks, host of the Once Upon a Gene podcast, for helping connect us.
Sarah Putt: Yes. Effie is amazing. I have had the wonderful opportunity to bring her on my show and talk about the parent perspective. For my podcast, I’m mainly talking to occupational therapy practitioners and students and other specialists. I’ve had physical therapists on and speech language pathologists.
But bringing on a parent who has had a kid that has gone through early intervention and continues to receive services and share her perspective, that that has actually been one of the episodes that I’ve had a ton of people reach out to me and say, “Thank you so much for sharing this.”
Because for us as practitioners, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our day to day-to-day lives, to get wrapped up in the emotionality of what we’re dealing with, to get wrapped up in documentation and insurance and productivity and all these other things that we have to deal with professionally.
I think a lot of times we only hear when things are going wrong from our families, from our clients, so it is good to hear from somebody who is so appreciative of what we do and what we bring to the table, especially as occupational therapy practitioners, where it’s still a very misunderstood profession.
I’ve had so many people reach out and say, “I needed to hear this, I needed to hear this professionally right now, because I’ve been questioning what I’ve been doing. Am I making a difference?” And to hear that perspective, everyone has been like, “Thank you.” And I know for me, even being the host and interviewing and asking those questions, I needed to hear it too. So I’m so glad that I’ve connected with Effie, and now because of that, we got to connect.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well she is a dynamo, and it’s not lost on me that Ford, their son with special needs, is super young as well. I don’t know where she gets the energy and the time for that matter. But it’s her calling, like being an OT is your calling.
So if somebody wants to learn more about Sarah Bryan Therapy, the OT 4 Lyfe podcast, your blog, or to contact you, what’s the best way to do that?
Sarah Putt: So the best way is you can go to my website, ot4lyfe.com. And yeah, I have links to everything there, my email’s there. And I’m on social media. I’m most active on Instagram. It’s ot4lyfe, and you can shoot me a DM over there as well.
I want to mention, because a lot of people ask me why lyfe is spelled with a y. It’s totally cheesy, but it’s because occupational therapy is the “why” of life. So that’s why I spell it that way.
David Hirsch: Well, thanks for sharing. I wanted to guess that, but I don’t know that that would’ve been my first response. So Sarah, thank you for your time and many insights. As a reminder, Sarah’s just one of the individuals who’s part of the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs.
If you’d like to be a mentor father, or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21stcenturydads.org. Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did.
As you probably know, the 21st Century Dads Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free to all concerned. Would you please consider making a tax deductible contribution? I would really appreciate your support.
Sarah, thanks again.
Sarah Putt: Thank you for having me. This was a lot of fun.
Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children match up with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support other dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help, or would like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com/groups and search dad to dad. Also, please be sure to register for the Special Fathers Network biweekly Zoom calls held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.
Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story or know of a compelling story, please send an email to email@example.com.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast was produced by me, Tom Couch. Thanks again to Horizon Therapeutics, who believe that science and compassion must work together to transform lives. That’s why they work tirelessly to research, develop, and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about Horizon Therapeutics at horizontherapeutics.com.