A career that ticks all the boxes
Bring enjoyment, empowerment, choice, fulfilment, growth, satisfaction and opportunity to people. This is not an inspirational Instagram post but a job description, occupational therapy (OT) to be exact.
For ACU OT graduate Danielle Arcidiacono, helping people was a must when she was considering her career back in high school.
“My careers advisor told me all about occupational therapy and recommended it as a career to consider as it ‘ticked all of my boxes’. A career where I was able to help make a positive impact on individuals’ lives. To work with children and have the potential to open a private practice in the future. OT also allows for a variety of job options with one degree,” Danielle said.
“I then followed through and spent a week of work experience in Year 10 at an OT practice, attended ACU Open Day three times over the next three years and took part in two University Experience Days. After talking with academic staff at the university and experiencing OT, I was sure this degree, and career, were for me.”
The rest is history. Danielle thrived during her studies at ACU, has graduated, and is now making a real difference in people’s lives.
Recently, Danielle competed in the TAD Change Makers Program which harnesses engineering, business, design, UX, operations, therapy and other skills in the community, with the aim of fixing challenges faced by those living with disabilities every day with innovative design solutions.
“TAD is about changing the lives of people living with a disability. The team at TAD do this through providing personalised technology, equipment and services,” she said.
“Over the course of three days, engineers from all different specialty areas, OT’s and the TAD team put our brains together to create an innovative mobility device for young children. I was the only OT competing; the rest were engineers. This gave my group a wider perspective and knowledge base.
“This experience allowed me to realise how much knowledge, experience and importance an OT has in a multidisciplinary team and how we can contribute to the strongest outcomes. The team at TAD and I believe that this wider perspective gave my team the advantage to win the competition overall.
“I am so excited that my team, other volunteers and the TAD team will continue working towards the development of our prototype to provide a real-life mobility device that young people need.”
OT with a difference
It was during her studies at ACU that Danielle was able to hone her skills for empowering others.
“Whatever I needed, whenever I needed it, someone at ACU was always able to support me.” Danielle said.
“I can specifically recall a time I was so grateful for that support. I was struggling to understand the content in a unit, and I had an assignment due. As a result, I was struggling to give my best. My teacher offered to meet with me and go through my assignment, provide advice and information, and then meet again to go through the results. I literally went from a pass to a high distinction just because this teacher was willing to spend a few hours with me.
“I am so grateful to that teacher and others. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the amazing ACU staff.”
Moments that count
Post university studies, Danielle is taking this year to relax a little and is working part-time as a Disability Support Worker and as an OT for a few special clients.
“My clients all have a variety of disabilities, which keeps my job interesting and educational, ranging from Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Intellectual Delay, Attention Deficit Hypoactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Cortical Visual Impairment, Rett Syndrome and more,” she said.
“I do find a challenge every day, but I am learning to adapt or solve them in a variety of ways. My job is so rewarding, I get to positively impact young individuals and their family’s lives. I feel so lucky every day.
“Being able to help form connections, help people achieve their goals, motivate each other and socially connect is what I love so much about my career.”
Ready to make a difference like Danielle? Explore the allied health courses at ACU.