The Children's Institute Blog

Emerging Occupational Therapist Was Former Patient: Brittany's Story

Posted: May 05, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Emerging occupational therapist Brittany DelSignore has something to say: she’s been here before.

The St. Francis University senior had a stroke around the time of her birth and then went through seven years of intense occupational and physical therapy as a child – later deciding she wanted to return the favor.

“Both my parents know I have a big heart. I want to please people, I want to help them. My mom saw that and said, ‘Why don’t you do that for a living?’” said Brittany, whose 22nd birthday falls in May. “When I was going to high school and thinking about a career to pursue in college, my mom asked, ‘How could you impact this world? How can you make an impression and give back?’ I thought about going into OT and PT and being someone like my therapists were to me.”

Barb Warden was Brittany’s OT some 15 years ago. She remembers her well.

“Brittany was the patient that everyone wanted to work with – always smiling and every week learned something new. She was extremely determined and has a great support system in her father. Together the two met any goal they set for Brittany. Having hemiparesis was not going to stop her,” Barb said.

“A few years later, I heard she was in the marching band and then, a few years after that, that she was enrolling in OT school. I was not surprised,” Barb added. “Through her young life she has shown us what occupational therapy embodies – participation, independence and inspiration. She has demonstrated this on a daily basis. I’m sure Brittany will inspire others to reveal their true potential and become an amazing OT.”

Brittany is modest about her accomplishments, but understandably proud of the progress she’s made. Doctors told her dad that she wouldn't be able to walk or talk. But she’s danced for 10 years, has played trombone for 12 years, has been in marching band for 8 years throughout high school and college, and maintains a 3.8 GPA.

“Occupational therapy helped to make all of that possible. Where would I be without it?”

And where will she go? Only time will tell. She graduates next year.

“My dad likes to say, ‘You are going to have parents bringing their child in for therapy. They’re going to say, ‘Is my baby going to be okay?”

Brittany added. “And I can say, ‘I was.’”

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