Occupational therapy is all about helping people capitalize on what they can do, rather on what they cannot do.
Meet Butch Lumpkin. He was recently featured on cnn.com because of his amazing golfing abilities. And he doesn’t even have any arms.
The story has unfortunately already been bumped off the website to make room for more recent golfing news, but in the video interview, Butch said that when his mother was pregnant with him back in the 1950s, she took two doses of a then-popular drug to help alleviate her morning sickness. What she didn’t know was that this drug would cause her son to be born with underdeveloped limbs. Thousands of other expectant mothers who had taken the same course of action for their morning sickness found themselves in similar situations when their children were born. Butch’s family was very supportive though, and as a child he worked hard to capitalize on his natural athletic talents, becoming quite adept at soccer, tennis, and golf.
He is amazing.
In the CNN video interview, Butch said that the key to his success is the fact that he always focuses on what he can do, instead of what he can’t.
And he can do a lot.
He is now a tennis pro, golf pro, and motivational speaker, not to mention a husband and father. He was featured on the Golf channel (that video can be found here) and he also has his own website (http://butchlumpkin.org/home.html).
As an occupational therapy student, I find stories like this so energizing because they highlight the impact that occupational engagement can have on people’s lives – people who have been labeled as “different.” It gives them a means by which they can discover their strengths, engage with the world, and develop an identity to propel them to incredible heights.
That’s the beauty of occupation.