"She was willing to live experiences with me to gain further insight to personally and individually help me in my unique world."
From Ann B.
“Robin helped me find ways to better handle my pain and limitations. She taught me ways to deal with my PTSD, for example, through relaxation exercises, crocheting, and cross stitch. She helped me get mentally stronger so that I could achieve several goals that led to me leaving abusive relationships and to being a better parent. Through working with her, I increased my self-esteem, stopped doubting my decisions, and began to feel like I am a worthwhile person.”
“For the past few years, I have wondered how to achieve meaning and purpose in my life. On December 17, 2011 I suffered a spinal cord stroke and became a paraplegic. It shattered my once well proscribed life as a pediatric emergency room physician which had defined me for 20 years. I had moved from a calculated lifestyle to one filled with empty time. Though most of that time was used in pursuit of rehabilitation of my damaged body, there was no other goal in living. I had been in psychological counseling since my stroke but despite spending many hours discussing how adrift I felt… how purposeless my life seemed to be… a play to remedy that state of being failed to materialize. Then I met Robin.”
“Robin Underwood came into my life upon recommendation from my physical therapist, Matthew, who is a young, empathetic, incredibly gifted young man. I was able to express to him many of my concerns about my inability to find something valuable to contribute to life… to actually be of service to others. He offered to connect me with Robin, his mother, who is an occupational therapist whose mission is to help people such as myself move forward on their journey in life to find fulfillment. I agreed to meet with her.
I had some experience with occupational therapists. They helped me learn how to function in daily activities of life as a paraplegic. I was taught by them to navigate my kitchen and prepare meals, perform other domestic chores such as doing laundry, and they were there to help me master self-care such as bathing or catharizing my bladder. I initially was not sure how useful having another occupational therapist in my life was going to be since I had already mastered independent living skills as a disabled person. I, however, chose to meet with Robin to talk about life.
The moment I spoke with Robin, I understood that this as not going to be similar to my previous experiences with occupational therapy. Robin began our conversation with an earnest interest in learning about who I am and my history of how I got to where I am. Our first conversation via telephone could have lasted for hours but we concluded with a plan to physically meet to continue becoming acquainted. We actually met several times and as Robin began to assess my goals and aspirations and was able to develop several action plans. “Action:” that was exactly what I needed. She journeyed with my in my accessible van to witness exactly what challenges I face in negotiating my environment just to be able to get outside of my home and go into a restaurant either in my power wheelchair or on crutches. She witnessed with me the dilemma of such simple things as finding a van appropriate parking space and by her very presence in these circumstances developed a clear picture of “real life” as a functioning disabled person. I believe as a professional occupational therapist, Robin understood the challenges that disabilities present but she was willing to live experiences with me to gain further insight to personally and individually help me in my unique world.
Ultimately, Robin presented multiple resources for me to investigate to connect with groups, organizations, individuals who may be effective avenues for me to find a way to live a more meaningful and productive life, contributing to society. I was amazed at how very many resources she was able to tap into. She helped me plan from the simplest of solutions such as purchasing a rain poncho so that inclement weather doesn’t prelude me from venturing outside, to the most complex solutions of volunteerism which put my pediatric expertise into use. She was able to locate a community chorus with which I can sing to help me with a creative outlet. She focused on considering a convenient placement of my crutches in my van to expedite my evacuation in the event of an accident which would prevent the use of my ramp and wheelchair. Such “simple” solutions to everyday problems that I had not been able to solve as well as complex problems that were obstacles to my living a full life.
Having Robin in my life has been unlike any other experience with occupational therapy. She did not teach me fundamental activities of daily living to maintain my life. She personally immersed herself into my life and helped designed unique plans of management to catapult my life onto the next level of maxim living with a purpose.”
From Dr. D.R.
From Jim & Barbara G.
“Robin is a great listener and really understand what she hears, the spoken and the unspoken. My husband and I were trying to come to terms with aging, pain, physical limitations, and how those affected each of us and both of us. Robin was able to come into our home and understand us each individually and sift through options with us so that we could find and make a significant number of changes that worked for us. I would say we are now more relaxed with each other and in our lives than we have been in a very long time.”