Implications For Occupational Therapy
Work related stress affects the worker in terms of his or earning capacity, the employer in terms of lost productivity and the family in terms of disunity within the family structure.
This is the conventional way how work related stress is viewed and its cause is generally implicated to be the conditions at the workplace for which the employer is held responsible and is required to improve the prevailing conditions so as to reduce worker stress. This is an added financial burden on the employer especially when the cause of the worker stress may not be work related.
There is another, hitherto hidden, cause of workplace stress. This is the stress caused by the family situations of the worker which bleed into the workplace affecting the worker and his or her productivity. Under such circumstances, the workplace gets erroneously blamed for the workplace stress while the actual culprits are the family situations.
While there could be many reasons for the family based stress, the most common and hitherto unrecognized, cause is the children's academic performance and their intellectual growth. These factors stress parents more than we give credence to.
This stress increases as parents seeking help find none other than summer school, summer camps, counseling, and tutoring where the same subject matter which the students did not understand in school gets laboriously pushed onto the students hoping, erroneously, that doing more of the same, more often, and with added vigor will somehow miraculously change the situation.
The real answer is not that. The real answer is listening to the students and understanding their plight. Their main complaint is not being able to understand what is being taught to them and how it connects to their lives and their life goals. "How all this is going to make me a better person when I don't even understand it", is their main rhetoric. Listen to them. They are telling the truth.
Of all the subjects taught to the students in schools, the one which baffles and affects the students the most is Science. This happens to them during the ninth grade when Science stops making sense to them as it suddenly becomes Chemistry, Physics and Biology for which they were never prepared for. When children bring these complaints home, their parents don't listen. Instead, they push more of the same on them.
Under these circumstances it behooves the employers and their occupational therapists to be on the look out for those programs which will alleviate the situation.
The Science based programs and the workshops that the IIBBT offers are the answers as they teach how science is done. And since our minds seek logic, the increased understanding of Science via our integrated and hands on Science curriculum brings increased learning, opening up creativity thus showing how all what they are learning is connected to their lives and to their life goals. The knowledge thus gained gives children and parents something to talk about which creates family closeness thus reducing unfamiliarity and stress. This joy and familial connectedness eventually reflects in the worker's temperament and productivity at the workplace. Employers should consider sponsoring such programs by underwriting workshop fees instead of spending that money on modifying workplace conditions which will not bring desired results in the form of worker stress reduction.
At this point, we will especially like the employers, the occupational therapists and the parents to know that our workshops are not only inexpensive ($30.00 for a three hours hands on supervised lab session) we also encourage parents to attend the workshops with their children at no additional cost. This is the only time, we feel, that the parents and the children can spend quality time learning and interacting together. Also how many parents would not like to get another crack at Science, the subject which literally scared them out of their wits during the ninth grade!
For information on and registration for workshops, go to Current and Ongoing Programs.