Amy (Friedy) Guttmann-Singer
I’m here to be the OT I wish I’d had as a child.
Back when I was growing up, there was no one to turn to when I couldn’t eat my chicken if it had touched the rice on my plate, when I was afraid of getting wet, when I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
I attended Brooklyn College while I was working as a commodity trader on Wall Street. That existence was net positive for my mind and my finances, but that wasn’t enough. I knew that to net positive in life, I would need something else.
So I went to the OT program at SUNY Downstate. After I graduated I started working with children with fine motor delays. Eventually I noticed that many children with physical issues or delays essentially suffered from integration issues. While the report listed the external manifestations of “poor handwriting” or “low tone” or “visual processing delays,” when I started to work with the child, I could see their challenges through their eyes and relate to their experience.
I became my own OT client.
I worked on myself as soon as I had the knowledge - allowing me to be free and lead a happy, accomplished, satisfying life helping others overcome their limitations as well.
You see, I haven’t forgotten what it feels like to be stuck.
That memory fuels my drive for research, for training other professionals, and for making changes in the educational system. And it drives me to be here at Hands on OT, to help your child get unstuck, to work through her integration issues, so she too can net positive in life.
Evelyn (Roizy) Guttmann
“Send me all your handwriting cases.”
That was me right out of OT school, after a career in accounting left me feeling unfulfilled. I wanted to help people, and I was naive enough to think it was going to be straightforward. I mean, I was trained in how to deal with all the standard cases, right?
19 years of OT have taught me that true OT is looking beyond the surface.
Poor handwriting is a symptom, not a cause. Ten children with illegible handwriting could have ten different causes and need ten different approaches. The key is to look beneath the surface and get to the root of the issue.
OT has sensitized me to the extraordinary capacity of the body and mind for change. I’ve been amazed by this capacity across the human lifespan: in my work in geriatrics, in adults with neurological issues, in the NICU and finally now, in pediatrics.
On a casual meeting with any person, you rarely guess what he has been through and the changes he’s made in his life. As a neurodevelopmental specialist, I get daily glimpses beyond the surface, glimpses of the quiet struggle and triumph of individuals. I have the privilege of facilitating the slow changes, and am witness to the joy of being able to live life more fully.
I am able to help parents go beyond the surface and understand their children better. The awareness and the sensitivity create a new depth and closeness in their relationships.
I still get sent handwriting cases.
But now I don’t go by the book. I first dive deep, so I can approach, appreciate and evaluate… from beneath the surface.