Evolved Living Podcast

Trailblazing OTs: Neurodivergence, Mentorship, and Building Inclusive Communities Part Two of Discussion with Dr. Bill Wong, OTD, OTR/L

July 25, 2023 Dr. Josie Jarvis, PP-OTD, MA-OTR/L, BA, BS Season 1 Episode 11
Trailblazing OTs: Neurodivergence, Mentorship, and Building Inclusive Communities Part Two of Discussion with Dr. Bill Wong, OTD, OTR/L
Evolved Living Podcast
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Evolved Living Podcast
Trailblazing OTs: Neurodivergence, Mentorship, and Building Inclusive Communities Part Two of Discussion with Dr. Bill Wong, OTD, OTR/L
Jul 25, 2023 Season 1 Episode 11
Dr. Josie Jarvis, PP-OTD, MA-OTR/L, BA, BS

Trailblazing OTs: Neurodivergence, Mentorship, and Building Inclusive Communities

Description: In this thought-provoking and insightful podcast episode, Dr. Bill Wong, a trailblazing occupational therapist (OT), and the host Josie Jarvis engage in a candid conversation about the intersection of neurodivergence and OT. They dive into the importance of mentorship and the role it plays in supporting and empowering neurodivergent OTs and students. Dr. Wong shares his personal journey and experiences with Autism while engaged in OT leadership, shedding light on the need for representation and diverse perspectives within the OT field.

Key Points:

  • Neurodivergence and OT: Dr. Bill Wong discusses his experiences as an OT with Autism highlighting the importance of representation and diverse perspectives within the profession. Josie explores how these intersections connect with her experiences of neurodivergence with ADHD and NVLD as well. 

  • The Power of Mentorship: Both guests emphasize the significance of seeking mentorship as a sign of strength rather than weakness. They explore how mentors can empower neurodivergent OTs and help them navigate challenges in their careers

  • Breaking Traditional Boundaries: The discussion explores the need for strategic disruption in the OT profession to foster growth and inclusivity. Both guests challenge the status quo and advocate for a more diverse and open-minded approach to OT practice and leadership.

  • Embracing Passion Projects: Dr. Wong shares his experience with organizing TEDx events and how passion projects can provide a creative outlet for OTs to explore and utilize their talents and skills beyond traditional practice.

  • Low-Cost Alternatives for Conferences: The conversation delves into the high costs of attending conferences and explores the potential for low-cost alternatives and inclusive approaches to knowledge sharing and professional development.

  • Building Inclusive Communities: Both guests stress the importance of building communities that welcome and support individuals from diverse backgrounds, including ethnicity, disability, and socioeconomic status.

  • Amplifying Voices: The podcast advocates for partnering with other disability communities to amplify their voices and advocate for accessibility and inclusion in various spaces, including OT practice and academia.

Join this inspiring conversation as they challenge the norms, celebrate diversity, and encourage the next generation of OTs to embrace their unique strengths and talents. Whether you're an OT, a student, or simply interested in promoting inclusivity and mentorship in healthcare professions, this podcast episode is a must-listen!

Evolved Living Network Instragram @EvolvedLivingNetwork
Free Occupational Science 101 Guidebook
OS Empowered OT Facebook Group
Link to Full Podcast Disclaimer

Show Notes Transcript

Trailblazing OTs: Neurodivergence, Mentorship, and Building Inclusive Communities

Description: In this thought-provoking and insightful podcast episode, Dr. Bill Wong, a trailblazing occupational therapist (OT), and the host Josie Jarvis engage in a candid conversation about the intersection of neurodivergence and OT. They dive into the importance of mentorship and the role it plays in supporting and empowering neurodivergent OTs and students. Dr. Wong shares his personal journey and experiences with Autism while engaged in OT leadership, shedding light on the need for representation and diverse perspectives within the OT field.

Key Points:

  • Neurodivergence and OT: Dr. Bill Wong discusses his experiences as an OT with Autism highlighting the importance of representation and diverse perspectives within the profession. Josie explores how these intersections connect with her experiences of neurodivergence with ADHD and NVLD as well. 

  • The Power of Mentorship: Both guests emphasize the significance of seeking mentorship as a sign of strength rather than weakness. They explore how mentors can empower neurodivergent OTs and help them navigate challenges in their careers

  • Breaking Traditional Boundaries: The discussion explores the need for strategic disruption in the OT profession to foster growth and inclusivity. Both guests challenge the status quo and advocate for a more diverse and open-minded approach to OT practice and leadership.

  • Embracing Passion Projects: Dr. Wong shares his experience with organizing TEDx events and how passion projects can provide a creative outlet for OTs to explore and utilize their talents and skills beyond traditional practice.

  • Low-Cost Alternatives for Conferences: The conversation delves into the high costs of attending conferences and explores the potential for low-cost alternatives and inclusive approaches to knowledge sharing and professional development.

  • Building Inclusive Communities: Both guests stress the importance of building communities that welcome and support individuals from diverse backgrounds, including ethnicity, disability, and socioeconomic status.

  • Amplifying Voices: The podcast advocates for partnering with other disability communities to amplify their voices and advocate for accessibility and inclusion in various spaces, including OT practice and academia.

Join this inspiring conversation as they challenge the norms, celebrate diversity, and encourage the next generation of OTs to embrace their unique strengths and talents. Whether you're an OT, a student, or simply interested in promoting inclusivity and mentorship in healthcare professions, this podcast episode is a must-listen!

Evolved Living Network Instragram @EvolvedLivingNetwork
Free Occupational Science 101 Guidebook
OS Empowered OT Facebook Group
Link to Full Podcast Disclaimer

 Bill Wong Part 2 

Bill Wong Part 2 


[00:00:06] Josie Jarvis: Hey everybody. Thank you for your patience. Bill and I ran into, some technological hiccups, so we're gonna circle back and add some like final thoughts in reflecting on this conversation so far, and figuring out how we can support those that might be listening.

[00:00:23] Josie Jarvis: Maybe their perspective OTPs, maybe their early stage academics. Maybe you're a new grad and maybe you're new in discovering your own neurodivergence. Maybe you're also late diagnosed, or maybe you have navigated your ot, student career through the pandemic and the mental and social challenges that come, and the access barriers that you've experienced in your own development.

[00:00:50] Josie Jarvis: And I guess what I'm hoping is folks listening so far. Some of the challenges that Bill and I have navigated have also become [00:01:00] these huge blessings in the body of our research work and our focus and our insight that some of the challenges that we've experienced socially in these different areas have ended up created a huge interest and a drive and a passion that's now led to trailblazing in OT and other areas.

[00:01:20] Josie Jarvis: So sometimes these challenges are also gifts that we gain from. One of the things I was thinking about, bill too, while you were sharing some of your perspective is on the OT Lifestyle Movement Podcast with Rhianne and Chris. She got to have a discussion with Dr. Michael Ama, who I know that you're likely connected to and informed by, especially as Asian.

[00:01:44] Josie Jarvis: Asian heritage, OTPs and Scholars. But I remember he talked on that podcast about the challenge that his perspective had in the OT community and the OS community. And [00:02:00] strangely offering a more eastern perspective on OT theory ended up not being very welcome to him in the Japanese context. He faced some, like what might be described as some ostracization within the leadership infrastructures in Japan.

[00:02:20] Josie Jarvis: Are you aware of that context, bill? 

[00:02:23] Bill Wong: Context? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I think it's I think I remember I went to the w ft conference in Japan. Definitely I think. And I think I also had some conversations with Dr. I Obama over the years. Definitely. I think that definitely he faced some turbulence, at least in the early goings of his career about sharing his word and the kawa model, if I'm correct.

[00:02:48] Josie Jarvis: Actually, that was another thing I remember I was gonna say before we got cut off too, is Dr. Mike Sai shared a meme on his Facebook community in the last few months that I really appreciated where he said, [00:03:00] if you find that you're getting a lot of backlash and judgment about your unique form of practice as an ot, keep going.

[00:03:09] Josie Jarvis: Just wait. In 10 years, those same OTPs are gonna be inviting you to speak about it. And that's something that happened with Dr. Awma too, where in the inertial stages he faced a lot of pushback in the US and internationally. And some of that's still happening to this day in occupational science.

[00:03:28] Josie Jarvis: I was just new to realizing that, oh, Dr. Gary Kil Hoffner maybe wasn't a big fan of occupational science. And there might be some things that I'm not aware of in the occupational science world that weren't a big fan of Gary Kil Hoffner. But for me as a scientist, I don't care as much about the people and the little, like the political dramas as much as what does this work have to teach us about the knowledge of occupation?

[00:03:52] Josie Jarvis: And how can we d depersonalize some of our scholarships so that we get the best of all these perspectives and know, it might not be that one lens is [00:04:00] always gonna work in every cultural context. I'm really grateful that Dr. Michael Obama kept pushing forward despite having a controversial perspective.

[00:04:10] Josie Jarvis: And ruffling feathers because now we have this amazing model that is, Allows us to look at cultural relativism and allowing our clients to lead in sharing their wisdom and to listen. I'm really glad that he was brave and willing to show up in those really exclusive spaces. So that now over the last several decades, the Kawa model has grown internationally and is transforming not just the lives of individuals, but also organizations and communities and challenging OTPs all over the world.

[00:04:43] Josie Jarvis: To think more broadly, not just at that individual level, but how we really do belong to an ecology and into an ecosystem. I'm so grateful that he showed up and paved a path that I wonder, maybe in some ways some of the [00:05:00] trailblazing of Dr. Michael Ama also helped blaze a trail for you, Dr. Dr. Wong for ha being of Asian descent.

[00:05:08] Josie Jarvis: Do you have a sense of that as being somebody that's also got to engage with Dr. Michael Lama? 

[00:05:13] Bill Wong: Yeah, I think like some of my work, I realize that, Dr. Di Obama has been in the field for much longer than I have. Of course. I guess it's definitely, I guess it's if you're talking about stages in terms of acceptance, I think that there are times that is definitely I'm not there yet.

[00:05:31] Bill Wong: In terms of 

[00:05:32] Josie Jarvis: hopeful to have that role model for you too, to know that there's been other male Asian OTs that have been able to create a robust academic career. 

[00:05:43] Bill Wong: Yeah, I think so. So I think it's like finitely. I've taken a few pages of his book for sure. I think that we talked about yesterday too, about okay, it is as a young or as a newer practitioner, I shouldn't say the word young.

[00:05:57] Bill Wong: This is a newer practitioner. [00:06:00] I go abroad more often than people would think. I think that is I think that was something that I took a page from Dr. Obama's book because I think that one thing I learned from him is like, Hey, you know what is especially over the last few years, I think that is important to actually spread the word of your work if you're able to, especially in your younger years.

[00:06:24] Bill Wong: And especially I think now it's all the manifest by Covid too, in terms of yeah, you never know. If you wait a little bit, it is like you never know when the next opportunity would be. So I'm glad that some of my work has started before Covid, so to speak. And then I think that hearing this yeah.

[00:06:43] Bill Wong: In a sense it's like Covid was like a wake up call because like I think before Covid it is okay, like you know what these opportunities are Like, I think that some people might take, oh, These opportunities for granted, but then it's covid, we're [00:07:00] gonna go anywhere. That sort of is another thing too that I think that was very unprecedented presented time in our profession as well.

[00:07:11] Josie Jarvis: I think there's that's where I'm like grateful and hope I can share a degree of honor from your example, cuz it's given me the courage to also show up and put myself out there and see what happens. That's one of my pet peeves sometimes in the OT leadership community is. Like for example, in my own state association that I've been involved in, whenever the topic of OT and mental health comes up for years, it always felt okay, this is gonna take decades to do.

[00:07:38] Josie Jarvis: This is gonna take like forever. It's probably never gonna happen that OTs can be qualified mental health practitioners in the state of Washington. And I would see that come up almost annually in our legislative committee discussions. And we would almost always say, oh, that's just too much of a pipe dream.

[00:07:56] Josie Jarvis: And in my mind, as somebody [00:08:00] that like came from community organizing prior to becoming an ot, it's been really satisfying to have this past year where we took advantage of a critical juncture. I like that you used that term. Dr. Wong because really when you're doing policy work, you have to be nimble and keeping your eye out for strategic opportunities to advance your message.

[00:08:22] Josie Jarvis: And that's something that you were just speaking to about how even if you feel like you're young and then this isn't the space for you, there's no better time than to start now, right? I. Yeah, something is gonna take decades to come to fruition. If you never start. It's not gonna start until somebody starts.

[00:08:41] Josie Jarvis: And what we ended up discovering in one legislative session by building a strategic partnership with a legislator and a demonstration example of how OT could have an impact in our community, that legislator just created a bill for us that would enable reimbursement for behavioral health, ot, and [00:09:00] community-based mental health services.

[00:09:03] Josie Jarvis: And that got accomplished along with adding OT to the list of behavioral health practitioners just in one session. So not decades. It literally happened within a matter of a couple of months that we transformed the future of our field. But first you have to believe it's possible, right? And this is something our clients face all the time, in order to get up and walk to the bathroom after having a stroke or.

[00:09:31] Josie Jarvis: Severe cardiovascular. The first step is believing you can do that, and that's what I hope in this community-based model, partnering with folks like Dr. Wong is we wanna encourage those listing the audience, whether you're an O T P, you're a student, you're a scholar or a community member, the first step is believing that change is possible.

[00:09:53] Josie Jarvis: Knowing it's gonna be disruptive in advance, but that's why you show up and do it anyway. So it's not as hard for the [00:10:00] next generation of this diverse world that we want. 

[00:10:05] Bill Wong: Oh yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think it's like, it is almost like me navigating my time in the OT world as well in terms of leadership at the A o T level.

[00:10:15] Bill Wong: Definitely I think is one of those things as you know what? I think. When I receive an advice about how to navigate OT leadership like about a decade ago, I think one of those things that I've been told is like, Hey, you know what it's like maybe your time in these experiences are not rosy, are not gonna be rosy, but at the end of the day, it is like, Hey, you know what?

[00:10:38] Bill Wong: What you get out of it, out of the experience is probably the most important. And I find that, yeah, I think my last six plus years in terms of getting involved in A O T A in a sense is definitely, it's a learning experience. Whether it's for the good or for the bad or for the ugly, I think it's [00:11:00] like definitely seen a lot and I think that it only inform me in terms of how to be a better citizen in terms of OT and creative some changes that might benefit for the whole profession, for the whole profession moving forward.

[00:11:18] Josie Jarvis: Definitely. 

[00:11:18] Bill Wong: Yeah. Sorry, go ahead. Yeah, I think in a sense that, yeah, so I think in that sense too, and I know earlier in the conversation we talked about my involvement in the TEDx space. Ironically, it's almost I think I know that before the pandemic, it was like, definitely, I would definitely will not be against the OT community's idea in terms of oh my God, this is gonna take tens of thousands of dollars, and a lot of time, a lot of labor to actually make money of these things happen.

[00:11:50] Bill Wong: And then the little, we know, the pandemic changed the ballgame, but I would say that, Actually, even though the OT community might see that, [00:12:00] hey, I'm the first one in terms of navigating the space in the pandemic. But definitely, I definitely have spent quite a bit of time in the early goals of the pandemic just to use it as a reset button to see if I really want to do this.

[00:12:17] Bill Wong: And then seeing how other groups from across the globe, other teams, I would say across the globe, they actually come up with some solutions. Especially some are very innovative solutions to bring that thing going, and then actually I was like, I was very privileged to be part of the audiences of these events and seeing how these virtual events have evolved.

[00:12:44] Bill Wong: And then actually I asked some friends, I was like, Hey, you know what, can I do this? I was like, and then they said absolutely you can, if you are resourceful enough, you're smart enough, you probably can do this. No problem. At first, I was very skeptical about this, [00:13:00] but then when I gotta study more and I realized that it wasn't, I wasn't passionate in terms of getting involved in the tech space.

[00:13:10] Bill Wong: I just realized that it's ot, right? We teach patients how to use proper body mechanics to do a task like turns out in terms of the TEDx wells, like I wasn't smart in terms of using the proper, setting up a good structure that I could thrive it. I did not do that. And then Covid when I saw other teams in action, that was when like, Hey, you know what?

[00:13:37] Bill Wong: Maybe I can set up a structure that will work for me and in turn that can help me make difference for other people. 

[00:13:44] Josie Jarvis: And having the role models, right? Having some role models and comparison and seeing how other people have learned too and being open to sharing that information to support each other.

[00:13:54] Josie Jarvis: It sounds like that was 

[00:13:55] Bill Wong: helpful. Oh yeah, that was actually very helpful too. So I was like, I think it's [00:14:00] almost like a house flipping thing. People like house flipping. So I was like, definitely is it's almost like before they actually set the selling price of a house, they would actually scout the neighborhood to see the, what they would like to sell the house for.

[00:14:15] Bill Wong: So I think in a sense it's like I use a similar process when I run my own TEDx events. It's okay. What am I do so many events. I'm like, okay, this is what I get for higher end events and this is what I get for low end event. It's so then I asked my question. It's okay, based on the answers that I have, based on the resource that I have, what can I really do?

[00:14:36] Bill Wong: So I know when I told some people, I was like, okay, I will only do a little bit above the minimum. And people were like, really? It's just a little bit it is. And then I just said oh yeah, it's like you guys don't know the space very well. It's if you get to see very fancy stuff, don't like you realize that yeah, this is one of those things that I can, I would dream to pull [00:15:00] off, but I cannot pull off, because of the lack of resources, lack of time, lack of bandwidth on my part, but I still try to turn in the quality product as well as I can. 

[00:15:11] Josie Jarvis: And that's where like community 

[00:15:12] Bill Wong: building, Yeah, and at the end of the day, I think I reflect upon my experiences so far. I realized that, hey, you know what? It's not about the bells and whistles that what counts, it's the passion.

[00:15:24] Bill Wong: It's the heart that what counts. I think that's something that also carries with me in terms of my leadership journey. I realized that, hey, you know what? There are some stumbles along the road and it's like, Hey, you know what? Nobody's perfect, as you mentioned before. So it's one of those that it's like, Hey, you know what?

[00:15:43] Bill Wong: It's if I get a genuine effort to serve and I serve a decent amount of time, I think that I pay my dues. And I think that's good enough. 

[00:15:52] Josie Jarvis: I think so. And I think too, one of my favorite things to try to develop [00:16:00] and cultivate, especially as a therapist, is that sense of humility, right? I think that's something too that I've learned from.

[00:16:08] Josie Jarvis: Dr. Michael Obama's work as well is how much we can center like we can, like those of us that do grow up in more western cultures that do tend to prioritize the self and going things on your own and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and stuff. I feel that Doc, Dr. Michael Ana's work also shows that value of thinking more so about the collective, about the community, how to be of service, and putting that first and seeing where that will take you of not necessarily being the one in control of the situation.

[00:16:47] Josie Jarvis: And I think too, I remember in our conversation yesterday, bill you ma you mentioned that you're, you've really been starting to understand a lot of your work as in the role of an [00:17:00] activist and that's certainly an identity that's been prominent in my development and occupational history as well.

[00:17:07] Josie Jarvis: But I think if we show that as an activist, you don't have to be perfect and it's never gonna be perfect. I think it actually makes it more accessible to people. Cuz I think people, when you're trying to be a perfectionist about it, it's paralyzing and we don't take enough action. And I hear that a lot from different marginalized communities.

[00:17:28] Josie Jarvis: They'd rather us take imperfect action as privileged, participants than to not take action at all. Sometimes like it's better to ask for forgiveness for doing something wrong than just to sit on the sidelines and be complicit with a system that's denying the humanity to import members of our community.

[00:17:48] Bill Wong: You know what? I agree with that too. I think that's the reason. I think that over the years, that double knee, I've accomplished some tribes, but over time also made some mistakes as [00:18:00] well. Some are major, some are minor, but regardless, like those experiences, I think that, especially when we are trying to cultivate people from diverse backgrounds to take over our work eventually, so it was like, Hey, you know what, that's, sometimes it's good lessons to learn from, so to speak, right?

[00:18:20] Bill Wong: I think so. I think it's very good experiences and I think that definitely, at least I can say is Hey, you know what? There are some parts that you definitely can learn from me in terms of what I've done well, but then there are also things that like, Hey, you know what? It's if it goes too far, that might be the pitfall if you are not careful.

[00:18:42] Bill Wong: So to speak, but of course as pioneers, as activists sometimes as you cannot be perfect. 

[00:18:48] Josie Jarvis: No, and we bet. And I think also we're always gonna be imperfect, especially as individuals. And I think we'll always be stronger in community, which is part of why I wanted to [00:19:00] invite collaborating with Bill to honor, his history and his example and his occupational like growth process.

[00:19:07] Josie Jarvis: Especially around being a champion in bringing conversations related to occupational therapy and occupational science in the informal publishing space and really showing us what's possible. And what I'm hearing from Bill too is that it's not always an easy path. And those of us that wanna be an allyship and wanna wannabe support to marginalized OTPs, I think there is a call to show up in let's.

[00:19:31] Josie Jarvis: Those of us that are here let's support the work Like Bill Wong, let's support DR a's work. Let's support, these marginalized identity OTPs that are facing backlash for being trailblazers and advancing and helping our organizations be responsive to occupational justice and activism issues.

[00:19:49] Josie Jarvis: We're at risk of losing these voices if we don't support and empower them. So I invite you all to check out bill Wong's social media presence in [00:20:00] particular, and absolutely the TEDx talks that he's helped curate and give a platform to. I think that's another amazing thing about your body of work.

[00:20:10] Josie Jarvis: Dr. Wong too is how much, even in the TEDx process that's sharing a platform for others, and I know, like in particular, you facilitated a TEDx events during c o D to really highlight women's voices. To in spaces that haven't been heard. And you're also looking at how can we support people with disabilities in the context of climate crisis, right?

[00:20:33] Josie Jarvis: These are really important questions that we have to start having both within. And outside the academy, if we're gonna have hope of changing the reality of our disability clients that we seek to serve, not just in outpatient settings and school-based settings and institutional settings, but I'm hoping that through engaging with occupational science, all of you as OTPs are starting to see the role that we can play in our communities, in the [00:21:00] naturalistic environments and thinking more entrepreneurially and more innovatively.

[00:21:04] Josie Jarvis: Bill was saying, we can be early adopters and we can be the trailblazers, blazers in our generation to create different models of service deliveries, such as those that can be seen now that have been developing for decades internationally. The medical model isn't the only way to offer and develop OT services.

[00:21:24] Josie Jarvis: Dr. Wong, could you talk a little bit too about how you've been using your OT lens, like with the tech community, with I know you were even looking at going into user experience design, there's all these opportunities and critical junctures that OTs that are willing to put themselves out there could probably find really meaningful careers if they're willing to think outside the box.

[00:21:45] Bill Wong: Oh yeah. I think there's this blog called the Non-Clinical pt, so to speak. So I think it was started by pt and they definitely have many guests from [00:22:00] former ot, former pt, former S L P, actually get involved in non-traditional careers. Whether it's related to medical or not related to medical. I think that is a very cool blog to also shout out as well in terms of their work.

[00:22:17] Bill Wong: I know personally, I made an entry about that, talking about my work in telex work. I know that. I think that my tech space definitely, I think that one of the things that I guess I've learned is almost I guess before me getting involved in the TEDx organizing space, I would consider myself like a frog living at bottom of the I only have very limited viewpoint of what's up there in terms of, and then of course it does the same, right?

[00:22:48] Bill Wong: It's the sky's the limit, I think is once I got involved in the organizing space, I realized that, I was like, Hey, you know what's there are all these things that are very [00:23:00] innovative or at least of Hey, it's upward the times, so to speak. And then so like when I got involved in the space so much, sometimes I really questioned myself.

[00:23:08] Bill Wong: I was like, Hey, why is OT not getting involved in it? And I think in the conversation we talked about yesterday too, in terms of Hey, you know what, is it because of like sometimes it's like we hold on to our traditions so much on what we believe is very tried and true, but at the same time it's you know what, maybe it's time for some new thinking, new school of thoughts to actually get involved in this.

[00:23:36] Bill Wong: To actually meet the societal needs of today and tomorrow too. For me, I consider myself more of a maverick. Having over time I realized that, hey, you know what? I don't fit the cookie cutter mode of an OT leader. I don't fit it because I realize that, hey, you know what? Like I'm someone who like to speak my mind, and I realized that, [00:24:00] hey, you know what? Sometimes it's very hard when you're representing an organization, sometimes it's like those kind of efforts, when you try to speak your mind, sometimes it can get you into trouble. And I realized that is something that, wow, it's very tough balance for me.

[00:24:17] Bill Wong: I think I did not realize 

[00:24:19] Josie Jarvis: that. It can be both ends. I think you can get into trouble and you can also, with doing that also find opportunities for success in moving forward. Some of, while you're sharing, I'm thinking about how much I've fallen down into the, I've become a fully initiated swifty over this past year and having, I guess in some ways where we were talking about how you have gotten to, in some ways relate to Dr.

[00:24:47] Josie Jarvis: Michael Iwama's work as a sign of representation for Asian men being able to succeed in the OT community, not just in as a practitioner, but also as a scholar and an international [00:25:00] influencer in the development of theory. And I certainly have a sense of I'm so excited to see how your career evolves Dr.

[00:25:07] Josie Jarvis: Wong, cuz I think it's like as high as Dr. WMA has been able to go, I certainly see you blazing new trails and expecting and anticipating that pushback. But I would say Taylor Swift is a similar figure in my life because we both sa share the same birth year. So I say I share the same birth year with occupational science and Taylor Swift.

[00:25:29] Josie Jarvis: I was born in 1989 and Taylor Swift has also been systematically underestimated because she started so young in the in the music industry and she always got dismissed about like maybe she was an industry plant or she can't possibly be writing her own music. And She certainly, has talked pretty openly about the level of bullying that she experienced in childhood.

[00:25:56] Josie Jarvis: And I think in my own trauma recovery work, I've been [00:26:00] realizing just how much bullying has been part of my lifespan challenges similar to most other probably neurodivergent folks, like people in school probably weren't nice to us at different times. And I think sometimes too when you're precocial, even if you're gifted, even if you don't get tracked into the special education realm, there are nuances in the challenges that you can experience in school settings.

[00:26:26] Josie Jarvis: And sometimes too, even if you have talents like, I don't know, bill, if maybe you had a talent with statistics or math or something, sometimes they pretend that if you're good at one thing, you have to be good at everything and you're like not allowed to struggle with some things. But most neurodivergent people have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in other areas.

[00:26:45] Josie Jarvis: Anyway. It's pretty obvious to everyone now that Taylor Swift has a very successful career cuz she's persisted and pushed through and represented lots of different ways of doing music. She's [00:27:00] broken how the system works in some ways and innovated in other ways. She has an interesting relationship to disrupting tradition and maintaining tradition.

[00:27:10] Josie Jarvis: And I think when you get that backlash, it can also be fuel that can help amplify your success and help build communities that can empathize and connect to you as a human being. So sometimes I really anchor into that, that other people that have experienced bullying and pushback have used that as fuel and drive to amplify their talents and share them on a different level.

[00:27:34] Josie Jarvis: And it really can change our culture, just being vulnerable about those struggles. So I just think to, to me, you're at a similar level in the OT community. Hopefully you probably have some Bill Wong fans in the same way. We have Swifties that are probably cheering you on from the sidelines, and we're probably helping people that are in the margins that are silent.

[00:27:57] Josie Jarvis: So sometimes it feels like we're alone, but we might [00:28:00] have people cheering us on, on the sidelines. But we're never gonna know that if we don't put ourselves out there and if we don't try to represent these voices. 

[00:28:07] Bill Wong: Oh yeah, I definitely agree with that. I think as like as long, like my trials and tribulations, I think that is a very good learning experience too in terms of I think in the end, Hey, you know what, my six years or so getting involved in A O T A, I think that there are some positive moments and there are some negative moments, and I think that probably the message I would say is Hey, you know what it's like you gotta.

[00:28:31] Bill Wong: It's I do me, you do you. I think that's the most important thing, 

[00:28:34] Josie Jarvis: I think we're not gonna be everybody's cup of 

[00:28:36] Bill Wong: tea. No. I think it is one of the things I've learned about my leadership style, I realize that's yeah. There are times that like I'm in, it's like I'm intentional, but I also think that there are times that it's like, Hey, I am effectively wild, so to speak.

[00:28:51] Bill Wong: Yeah. Sometimes it's Hey, you know what? That's part of my personality as a leader. I was like, you know what? That's part of who I am, and I think I am embrace it [00:29:00] because I think it's like, Hey, you know what? At least oh, I'm not like saying some random things out there. There are times I was like, okay, you know what?

[00:29:08] Bill Wong: I need space to share about myself. And sometimes it's if people don't understand it, take it or leave 

[00:29:13] Josie Jarvis: it. I think so, and I think you can always ke keep pivoting too. If you're finding that, okay, maybe being involved with my state association, I can't I'm not going anywhere. I'm not developing or I not, I don't like the way that I'm being treated by some of the people I'm working in.

[00:29:32] Josie Jarvis: You can take yourself out of that space and find a new space where it, you're more compatible that your strengths and your goals and things like, it's so important to not give up. Just because one door closes doesn't mean that there's not a window opening somewhere. And I think I've heard that from you.

[00:29:50] Josie Jarvis: Like you and I have taken sometimes where we've taken breaks from being involved in the state or federal associations or worked with other partnerships or gone into a different [00:30:00] industry. If you're feeling discouraged in one spot, maybe it's direct your KAA River in a different direction and find people who like.

[00:30:09] Josie Jarvis: Like Bill, I really appreciate the things that you share on Facebook that bring to light challenges that we need to be responsive to. You're somebody like Bill Wong's work is my cup of tea. It doesn't have to be everybody's cup of tea, but I'm here to support it and it's good for us to have diversity in our field and it's so much more possible to sustain in building community.

[00:30:30] Josie Jarvis: I'm curious, bill, do you have any advice for, I would say maybe neurodivergent perspective OTs that are listening maybe OT academics that are there that I wanna do research or OT educators about. Where's a good starting place to try to create a more inclusive sense of belonging for neurodivergent, OTPs students, colleagues?

[00:30:56] Josie Jarvis: And I think this even applies even if you're not a neurodivergent. [00:31:00] Ot, you might be working with a neurodivergent PT or a neurodivergent doctor, right? We need to learn to accommodate people of difference in these different roles as we become more diverse. So it's really important to listen to these voices, even if they might challenge your worldview.

[00:31:17] Josie Jarvis: It's good to hear it direct from the source. And that's not to say I'm asking this based on Bill's experience and research. I know I don't want to ask you to represent all neurodivergent people, but do you have any advice that you've cultivated from your lived experience and your research so far that we can take to heart in trying to cultivate more belonging in the communities we're a part of?

[00:31:39] Bill Wong: I think mentorship is very critical. As we talked about many times in our conversation today, I think that's one of those is like, how can we maximize them to their professional potential versus being in situations that they're comfort comfortable in, because hey, everybody has a safe zone.

[00:31:57] Bill Wong: Everybody has a fear zone, so I was like as a [00:32:00] mentor, how do I get somebody from point A to point B? And sometimes it's okay, because little stem, but sometimes there's quantum leap, so to speak. So sometimes it's I think one thing I've learned over time is that, especially from a mentor point of view, I think that it's important to be patient.

[00:32:21] Bill Wong: I think it's important. I know it sounds cliche because actually I'm not the most patient person in the world. So for me to exercise patience, Especially when with my mentees, I think that is a very important thing that I gotta exercise is I don't wanna, it's like I don't know when to push them and when to let them be themselves.

[00:32:44] Bill Wong: That's a very hard line that I'm still trying to figure out because I know that everybody's different. I think there's that part. And the second part I think is that, I know we talk about, I think one of the things we talk about is like ableism and stuff. [00:33:00] Bullying. Yeah. I think that kind of environment sometimes is yeah.

[00:33:03] Bill Wong: I think it's like I know that my, my involvement in the OT world, in the leadership scene, definitely. I would say it's definitely an adjustment that I. Many people in the OT community are learning. As you said, I'm not representing all neurodivergent people, but at the same time, it's hey, you know what?

[00:33:26] Bill Wong: Each case is different. It's does the infrastructure in place, is it really supportive of neurodivergent individuals? My answer, I would say it really is, really hit 

[00:33:38] Josie Jarvis: a mess. Some work, it can maybe use some work and especially too coming from the background as somebody of color as well. I think we have some work to do with A O T A that, we really started in our Roots as a formal organization back in 1917 where people of color didn't have human rights acknowledged in the United States [00:34:00] of America.

[00:34:00] Josie Jarvis: And some of that systemic logic got baked into the traditional infrastructures. And I'm speaking right now somebody from settler descent and like the traditions that. Are very important to my ancestors and that we're part of the settlement of the United States. We know now through things like occupational science and through history and listening and learning from different perspectives, like there isn't just one way of telling history.

[00:34:28] Josie Jarvis: There's not one right way of doing things. And many of these structures will, were built off of a campaign to intentionally cultivate something called like white supremacy, which is this idea that if we built our social structures to prioritize and support the traits that were valued among people that were, in some cases just lucky enough to be considered white, that we created an imbalance social structure to prioritize the needs, [00:35:00] the wishes, the desires of people that come from settler descent and a Caucasian background and.

[00:35:07] Josie Jarvis: We now have to mindfully reflect on where that's built into these traditional structures, these historical legacies that we maintain. Not all traditions are healthy for everyone, including those of us who benefit from whiteness. I know from my perspective, my connection to whiteness has deprived me from knowledge of my own culture in a more broad, holistic way.

[00:35:33] Josie Jarvis: I haven't gotten, sometimes it blinds you to information. And I think right now we had invitations to do that with these Jedi efforts and with occupational science and with, when these challenging conversations come up at conference, not just a O t a from talking to Bill, these conversations were challenging even Australia.

[00:35:56] Josie Jarvis: I actually worked with Australian OTs this week to talk about [00:36:00] intergenerational occupational profile exercise, and they were mentioning how much the culture of white supremacy is also a barrier to rebuilding therapeutic relationships with more diverse backgrounds. So 

[00:36:12] Bill Wong: I think, oh yeah, I add that too.

[00:36:14] Bill Wong: Yeah. Do you wanna speak to that? Of course. I add to that too. So I think one of the themes from the, even from the 2018 World Federation Congress, so definitely I have definitely heard my share of presentations that were very critical of the comments, assessments being used in our field because oh, they don't really cater to the African culture, so to speak.

[00:36:38] Bill Wong: Or like the norms like, oh, most of the norms maybe are from the African, I mean from the Caucasian or white. Population, so to speak. And sometimes their norms are very different from the norms of the Africans population. African is contingent. So definitely I think one of the things that is yeah, we talk about [00:37:00] culture a lot in our conversation today too.

[00:37:01] Bill Wong: So it's like definitely is I think that Congress, so that the, my takeaway from that Congress is like, okay, it's are the assessments that we're using, are they really culturally sensitive? 

[00:37:14] Josie Jarvis: A lot of the assessments that I use require like a really strong command of the English language. That's one of the things I really feel like imbalances our service delivery towards Norms that are more like European centric or Western philosophy centric.

[00:37:33] Josie Jarvis: And I think that's what's so cool about occupational science and OT and our diversity within, our epistemology and our theory is we have options. You don't have to only in the OT domain and process in the US we can use mixed method assessments. Like sometimes I use assessments just to open the door to then being more holistic on [00:38:00] top.

[00:38:00] Josie Jarvis: You can be culturally mindful by figuring out the language to make the argument about why you might be using a more informal assessment or where it's in a different language or partnering with translators. It's so important to start building a lens to think more holistically because if you just do it blindly and you just follow the same systems that we've always followed, You're gonna end up maintaining ableism, maintaining white supremacy and defaulting to these practices that are not culturally mindful or culturally humble.

[00:38:31] Josie Jarvis: And if you don't want to end up in a situation where there could be controversy around your services, this is where there's great that we have representation and we have conversations that you can be part of now to start evolving your practice to be more less likely to cause harm with other cultures and communities.

[00:38:48] Bill Wong: Oh yeah, for sure. And I think about again, we talk about my leadership experiences again, is almost like, I know that I think as I got to know more autistic OT students, I think, [00:39:00] oh, I think over time that there could be, I could be introduced to more autistic students out there because of the fact that I'm so out there in the field.

[00:39:10] Bill Wong: I think that definitely, I know that over time definitely get asked is like, Hey, you know what? That's why I do. Really worth it. I said I would probably say as buyers beware, in terms of Hey, you know what? It's like you probably have to read the judge. I think that, I think because like I know in recent years I talked to some autistic students about we mutually share some experiences with each other.

[00:39:41] Bill Wong: I think when I share my experiences, I think that sort of sparked the discussion of Hey, you know what? I know that before I actually shared my experiences, I know that some of these autistic students have said to me as wow, this looks so great. I'm really inspired by you. But then it's like when we get to an nitty [00:40:00] gritty and stuff, that's when they realize oh my God, that's a price that I probably would not be able to pay.

[00:40:05] Bill Wong: Or it's Hey, that's that's something like the backlash of I would not be able to stumble it like you did. 

[00:40:12] Josie Jarvis: Interesting. What do you think for, if there are neurodivergent students, OTPs listening and, honestly, I haven't been aware of that. I remember posting after I got to go to one of the OTA programs in my area, one of the students afterward talked to me and said, whoa you have a D H D and you got a doctorate.

[00:40:34] Josie Jarvis: And I was like, oh, wow. I didn't even think about that. And I didn't even think about now I get, I'm like representing nonverbal learning disability, right? From that, I don't even think, honestly, bill, I've considered about even the potential of the role that I might play as somebody with A D H D and N B L D of some of us that are these trailblazers.

[00:40:54] Josie Jarvis: That's an opportunity that we have to show up in mentorship. With the community to help the path be a little bit [00:41:00] smoother for the generation that comes after us. What have you found, or what sort of advice would you have for other neurodivergent OTs or disabled OTs to start reaching out for mentorship?

[00:41:13] Josie Jarvis: Like what are some of the initial steps that you think we could take? And I think I'll offer this platform too, feel free to reach out through my website, I'm actually offering. 15 minute, like empowerment calls just to get to know folks that are listening to the episode and figuring out how I can build community and be of support to the community.

[00:41:31] Josie Jarvis: So that's an option if you wanna reach out to me to learn about how I've tried to develop my messy leadership approach and saying things too that are controversial. I'm certain that Bill Wong would accept your friend request, for example. I think taking that initial step of reaching out and asking for help can sometimes be uncomfortable.

[00:41:52] Josie Jarvis: Do you have any advice to your divergent OTs and students to take that initial step in seeking mentorship? Mentorship? 

[00:41:59] Bill Wong: I [00:42:00] think sometimes, like reaching for help is the most important thing. It's like what we, what we tell our mental clients. Seeking help is not a sign of readers. Seeking help is actually showing strengths.

[00:42:13] Bill Wong: So I think that, The fact that you're seeking mentorship. I think that is a strength that is Hey, you know what? I might not be good at something. Or Hey, maybe I need some reassurance or whatever. You know that I'm on the right track. I think that is powerful to actually seek a second pair of eyes, to look at your career, to see if what you're going, where you're going is on the right track.

[00:42:40] Bill Wong: I think it's really worth doing that 

[00:42:43] Josie Jarvis: for sure. Have you ever had mentors that were actually like eventually discovered? You know how sometimes a therapist just isn't really a good fit for you? There might be sometimes where a mentor might not actually be the right fit. If you find that somebody maybe is discouraging you or just telling you to be quiet or [00:43:00] like.

[00:43:01] Josie Jarvis: Do you think? I would imagine that it's good to have a diversity of support system. And I think too, from my perspective, I think mentorship is something that we benefit from, like throughout our entire lifespan, right? I work with older adults every day. I'm much younger than them, but they have things to learn from me.

[00:43:21] Josie Jarvis: Yes, I haven't been 88 years old, but I ha I do have some wisdom that could help. Sometimes the mentor might be younger than you. Have you ever had that experience, bill? 

[00:43:33] Bill Wong: Not yet. That's okay. Not yet. Not yet. In my career. I don't think so. Not yet. But I'm thinking that there are times I think is yeah, there are times that I definitely experience in my career that is yeah.

[00:43:48] Bill Wong: So I realize that's Hey, you know what? There are times that's I don't buy this advice, I think one thing. Yeah. Yeah. Those are times I'm like, Hey, you know what? I gotta accept this advice with a grain of salts. [00:44:00]

[00:44:00] Josie Jarvis: Cause I, we have to honor our experience also as occupational beings, right?

[00:44:05] Josie Jarvis: Even though I'm in my first 10 years as an OT practitioner and academic I'm still in my first I'm in my, when I started getting into political organizing at age 10. So I have 24 experience, 24 years experience doing political campaigns and community organizing. And I have 34 years experience growing up with nonverbal learning disability and A D H D and all these other things.

[00:44:36] Josie Jarvis: So I think it's important to honor your lived experience, expertise, and what that might bring. And it might feel awkward. To say, you know what? There might be some times where I have something to teach you, even though you've been a seasoned clinician for so long. Sometimes these traditions that we've inherited can be ableist, and we also need you to listen and respond to younger people in the [00:45:00] community that have had different experiences and different tools.

[00:45:03] Josie Jarvis: I know even though I'm younger, I've gotten to share a lot about technology with what I call like my OT ancestors and mentors, where I think it's been a mutual share. So just because you show up in a mentor position doesn't mean you're in an disempowered position. You're also helping to shape and grow the career of those that you're in partnership with.

[00:45:24] Josie Jarvis: So always know that you're adding value. Oh 

[00:45:27] Bill Wong: yeah. I think that's one thing I've learned over time as well is that I think it's I think that some of my mentors are out there, but then it's like I'm way out there. Sometimes it's like they really have to learn a lot about wow, what are the strengths that I have?

[00:45:42] Bill Wong: What the privileges I have in terms of being very out there, but then also what are the additional challenges of being so out there? I think, but of course, conversely too when I meet my mentees, it's very different because like my mentees know that I'm very out there, and then they [00:46:00] are not on the opposite side of the spectrum.

[00:46:03] Bill Wong: So it's almost okay, it's like definitely is understanding. And I think over time I also realize the benefit too, in terms of hey, sometimes it's like laying low is not so bad. 

[00:46:15] Josie Jarvis: Sometimes brings some balance, it helps try out those different roles. I think that's a cool thing to think about is and something that I would inspire too, if I'm ever in that role as a mentor to someone where the goal as a mentor isn't to create somebody that's identical to you, or I think that's one of the ways that mentorship can be harmful is if OT is taught that there's only one right way to do ot, and that's just so not true.

[00:46:41] Josie Jarvis: They're like, I always tell people at my work, there's 1,000,001 ways in order to fulfill Medicare's guidelines. There isn't just one way and the bare minimum of service delivery isn't the only thing medical Medicare will cover. That's just the bare minimum. So there's lots of different ways to do something, there isn't just one [00:47:00] way. And so I think as a mentor, something that comes to my mind, and you can let me know your perspective on this bill, is I think entering that mentorship, I think we should be oriented that. Our goal is to help this occupational being that we're in partnership with, be the best version of themselves and what they wanna be in this role, which might not mean being exactly like our journey and what we've done, and to be somewhat humble and okay if they make different choices than the ones we would make.

[00:47:28] Bill Wong: Oh yeah, I definitely agree with that sentiment. I think it's like when some of my mentees mentioned about research, I think I I had to intentionally do a double take because hey, you know what, like at least from my experiences, this sort of work, and then they realize that okay, like when they talk about, I think it was like one of my mentees talk about wanting to get involved in research and I sort showed 'em my journey in terms of how I got involved into research in the roundabout way to do it and things [00:48:00] that I had to overcome.

[00:48:01] Bill Wong: I think that was when they realized oh wow, okay. Maybe it is not as easy as I thought it is. Yes. So sometimes yeah, so sometimes it's of course I think that sot is one thing I've also learned that is Hey, you know what it's like, I think the first time you only meet someone is definitely not to squash the dreams.

[00:48:21] Bill Wong: I think that's the same thing with work out patients. It's hey, sometimes the patients say, Hey, I want to walk, even though the likelihood might be very low, so to speak, but sometimes it's Hey, you know what? You might want to try to help the patient to get there. If they had to, the prerequisite qualities, maybe it's the intangibles, maybe is the mo, maybe is the physical baseline, but definitely I think sometimes when the way I approach this kind of situation is you know what? Sometimes I be the mentees to realize okay, I've tried as far as I [00:49:00] can, I try to implement as many strategies as they can to succeed and maybe Hey, in the end, that's not for me.

[00:49:09] Bill Wong: Then that's okay. At least I'm at peace of it. I think that, yeah, I think that's the con. If that's the conclusion, I can help my mentees reach, even though it's frustrating, it's not a happy ending per se, but at least I can say it's like, Hey, you know what? At least I think that from my mentee's perspective or my perspective at least, it's like, you know what?

[00:49:31] Bill Wong: We really give a genuine effort. I always need, oh, sorry. It's no fault. Yeah. It's no fault of anybody that we felt short of the goal, 

[00:49:39] Josie Jarvis: Oh yeah. And that's the only way we're gonna progress is through incremental progress at some level. And I love what you said it, that actually clicks for me.

[00:49:47] Josie Jarvis: One of the things that I've been hoping to try to understand and maybe communicate is I think one of the things that can be toxic is if we impose our boundaries on other people, like just because we have a [00:50:00] limitation in one area doesn't mean that has to be the limit in how far other will go or how far an organization will go.

[00:50:07] Josie Jarvis: So say if you're a leader in an organization and you don't have the capacity for a new project, but you have like new energy coming into the organization. You can self modulate how involved you will be in that project without stifling those that are showing up to take the project where they wanna go.

[00:50:26] Josie Jarvis: And it might be uncomfortable because you won't be in control of what direction they go in, but we can still have boundaries and support others and their full growth. If we end up projecting our boundaries onto them and stifling their passions and their growth and their goals, then we're actually regressing our growth as a leadership community and organization.

[00:50:47] Josie Jarvis: So it's good to have your own personal boundaries, but don't extend your boundaries onto another occupational being in a way that would limit their learning process and their growth process, because they're probably gonna go somewhere [00:51:00] very unexpected that you don't know because you don't have the full perspective on their occupational context.

[00:51:06] Josie Jarvis: And it might not be that you have to put the energy of it, but don't stifle their energy basically. You can communicate concerns, but it's important to. Respect others' boundaries, but also not limit. When there's enthusiasm beyond a case, it doesn't mean that you have to be the one to do it. You can keep your boundaries while still supporting their growth and finding resources elsewhere.

[00:51:28] Josie Jarvis: Sorry if I cut you 

[00:51:29] Bill Wong: off, bill. Oh, no worries about it. Now that made me think about my TEDx example as well. So I think one, my mentors first heard about my work. They was a little bit skeptical at first, and then of course when Covid happened, when they hear that, it's oh, I'm coming back. I'm doing more than ever.

[00:51:46] Bill Wong: I think people, my mentors, at first they were like, what the hell are you doing? And I explained it like, okay, you know what it seems like, I think it's and then when I explained to them, I think it was like, oh, [00:52:00] by the way, I find a space that yes, I still have to have some boundaries that I keep, and some rules that I gonna follow, but at the same time, it's you know what I think that I like.

[00:52:11] Bill Wong: That I can be freer, so to speak. I can be more myself. I like to use talents that I'm good. Not only I'm good at, but other tools that I actually don't get to use as an OT in my day-to-day life or even in the leadership space. I was like, Hey, you know what, I like the having the creativity, having some freedom.

[00:52:38] Bill Wong: So I think when they understand that this, and then, but of course I also circle back and like, why I'm doing this. I was like, oh. It was like, Hey, you know what? I'm not distracted from my long-term goals. I don't 

[00:52:52] Josie Jarvis: think so. And I think you can find a way it's symbiotic with your long term goals in exploring these spaces.

[00:52:57] Josie Jarvis: Not, 

[00:52:58] Bill Wong: yeah. It's not the way [00:53:00] that anybody in OT would've thought of it, but Hey, you know what? This works for me and I think it really fits my maverick ways. So I like, Hey, you know what? I think that, you know what, if I hit a setback at any time in the OT world, I am not.

[00:53:17] Bill Wong: I see you talking about pivoting as I am not afraid to pivot. 

[00:53:21] Josie Jarvis: Me neither. Yeah. I think that's the only way we're gonna get out of these limited boxes. I hear a lot of OTs complaining about being in limited boxes, and I just don't think that's ever gonna change until we support those of us that wanna grow outside of them.

[00:53:38] Bill Wong: Oh yeah. And of course I know that I think speaking on the TEDx work, I know that many academics that deputy questioned me as like, why are you getting involved in this? And then I point out a peculiar thing, I was like, look at your annual portfolio when you had to turn in to review what you have done for the year and [00:54:00] stuff.

[00:54:00] Bill Wong: And then I saw the highlight an item. It was like, oh, service to the university. And people were like, Start, it's considered a service to the university, and I justified it. I was like, oh yeah, you bet at this. People me think it's oh, you just slap a logo of your school for five seconds for each.

[00:54:20] Bill Wong: Thing for each video that you produce, right? I said, no, that's not that at all. Actually, it's like behind the scenes there's actually a lot of work that goes on to make it happen. And I think that is important to, I think that after that knowledge, my privileges, right? So I was like, Hey, you know what?

[00:54:43] Bill Wong: My privilege as an academic is that, hey, I have my own Zoom account. And I know that I was like, Hey, you know what? I should not be abusing these kind of privileges, and I thought about Hey, you know what? I was like you the in-person space, if I were using any part of the school as a [00:55:00] venue to host any kind of community event, I think I should be acknowledging that, hey, you know what?

[00:55:06] Bill Wong: I'm using school resources and. I think they definitely need a little shout out of five seconds, and the, and then of course, it's like, also in a sense, it's also marketing for the school because hey, you know what, like this kind of work is like believable or not is marketing for the school that people like, people might not have heard about this, the school previously.

[00:55:31] Bill Wong: It's guess what? It's like it actually can bring exposure, so to speak. So I say, okay. This is why it is service to 

[00:55:39] Josie Jarvis: the university. That's why I was saying like some risks you don't, you might not realize they're worth taking until much later. I, so this podcast is just in the first couple months of development really, and it's been an experiment for me.

[00:55:54] Josie Jarvis: And it's like you said, having a passion project and something that you can have some creative autonomy [00:56:00] with. And I've had a hard time finding space to have these conversations within the associations I've been involved in. So I'm, and like you're saying, it's shocking to academics too.

[00:56:10] Josie Jarvis: I'm braced to maybe have fallouts in my connection to academics, but I trust I will find some that are also interested in it. But like some of the conversations that I've gotten to have on the podcast so far even though it's, it's in initial stages and it's not like the biggest podcast by any means, but I get to see some of the stats on who's listening.

[00:56:33] Josie Jarvis: And right now I've had probably, wait, where was it? Let me pull up the total. So we, I, there's 276 downloads and multiple countries, but I was thinking like with my presentations that I'm gonna give, and I'm really lucky that the Wong is likely gonna be part of a panel discussion at Woda [00:57:00] with me. But usually when I do those sessions at conference, there's usually not much more than maybe 12 people that are there.

[00:57:07] Josie Jarvis: And I'm certain that others will have much widely intended, but hey, putting these conversations out there into the world, I've now gotten these conversations in front of a lot more people than 12 every year. And they're accessible all year round. And your TEDx talks that you produce Yeah, you produce them once, but then they live on YouTube forever.

[00:57:29] Josie Jarvis: And that could potentially get accessed by thousands and hundreds of thousands of people over time. That's huge. Oh yeah, that actually 

[00:57:38] Bill Wong: made me think about the 2017, back in the day when we had the Rose Parade floats. I think that was the inspiration I had when I got involved in the tech work because like when I heard the Rose Parade float in terms of how much time, how much effort to put in that roseberry float, I heard that Roseberry float was [00:58:00] about 250,000, 300,000 to actually put it up.

[00:58:05] Bill Wong: But then it's oh, you probably have a one minute on air, on tv, you know that the OT float was on there and then oh, you gotta be in the local area, to actually see the floats. Trying to see the flow in person, 

[00:58:22] Josie Jarvis: but like social media can be such a low cost marketing venue.

[00:58:27] Josie Jarvis: There are so many things that we could do with grassroots organizing and partnership with other communities. I love that about Gail Whiteford. She was saying, really, and instead of just having one month about ot, it would almost be more strategic to have OTs partner with other disability organizations and show up to support their movements too.

[00:58:46] Josie Jarvis: That almost creates a better PR relationship when we show up in service instead of looking like we're just showing off, so building those community partnerships can be a really low cost way of actually including [00:59:00] awareness, especially if we're not just telling people what we do, but we're showing what we do.

[00:59:05] Josie Jarvis: Oh yeah, 

[00:59:05] Bill Wong: for sure. I think it's like the podcast too. Podcast is definitely a very low cost way, or webcast is definitely a very low cost way as well. And that's why I found, and I think that, I know already we talked about TEDx too. I was like, definitely, I think that when I shared my poster at the Wolf Federation conference, I think that some, there were some academics that actually questioned me in terms of Hey, it doesn't fit the conference.

[00:59:32] Bill Wong: Does it, why do you think that fit the conference? And 

[00:59:36] Josie Jarvis: I just, maybe it's your job not to fit because disabilities don't usually fit. 

[00:59:41] Bill Wong: No, actually I was like, lemme finish the question, lemme finish my answer. Sure. My thought. So then I was like, okay. So I cited in terms of the 2018 Wolf Federation conference, about oh, okay.

[00:59:54] Bill Wong: You know what, it's like some of the stuff are very expensive or not very accessible. And then [01:00:00] oh, when I present that poster at the Wolf Federation conference, my justification was like, Look at what I've done and then I said, oh, you may think that it costs tens of thousand dollars, to provide these together if it's on ground.

[01:00:15] Bill Wong: But guess what? If it's online with the right support in place, it can only be like a few hundred dollars US. And that's significantly cheaper that to pull it off, and I think that, and then I highlighted back the conversation at the Wolf Federation conference in 2018. It's okay. It's is it accessible for everyone?

[01:00:37] Bill Wong: I said, look, $500 US also, or even less than that, it's if I have the right infrastructure, it's like, hey, it might be very high price for the global south, so to speak, still, but still. Hey look. Look, the amount I spent. For putting these TEDxes. [01:01:00] Sometimes it is less than the cost that you spend to register for the federation conference, so you tell me if that's economical or not.

[01:01:07] Josie Jarvis: I love that bill, and I'm so glad you were in your space to share that and highlight that. And I think that's where I think we're natural partners and collaborations to disrupt some of this space. I brought that up with some of the SSO stakeholders that I've worked with where, we're each spending about $2,000 even within the US context, just to access this experience.

[01:01:29] Josie Jarvis: And honestly, I would rather, instead of my, a thousand dollars going towards a Hilton or a Hyatt, I'd much rather that resource that I spent out be. Delegated to the global south to make this experience accessible for them, right? That would be a better use of my resources that I've earned as a clinician where I would prefer to give back to the community.

[01:01:50] Josie Jarvis: Can we start thinking about lower cost venues to host conferences? And can we think about doing hybrid recordings and in-person meetings, or doing like [01:02:00] coffee shop gatherings while watching a TEDx discussion and having that mix of an in-person dialogue without putting an undue burden on our members to attend these conferences, or knowing that when the cops are so high, we're not gonna get people with disabilities to attend.

[01:02:16] Josie Jarvis: We're not gonna get people from outside of organizations to attend and see what we do. It's gonna only be an insular con, con conversation because people can't afford to access the dialogue. 

[01:02:27] Bill Wong: Oh yeah. So I hope that, yeah, so you are, yeah, that experience that made me think about 2017 in A O T A when we attend the Centennial conference, so there was actually an auto autistic self-advocate in the area, and she bought a one day pass to attend the conference, and she said even that one day pass was very steep for me. Yeah. So that was like, yeah. So that was like, how accessible is that? And I think [01:03:00] that the guest pass is significantly cheaper than what we pay for registration for the conferences too.

[01:03:07] Bill Wong: So that's another thing to consider is one 

[01:03:10] Josie Jarvis: of the things is when do our institutions become almost more of a burden than a support to our membership? Is our goal to serve and support the institution, or is it the institution's goal to help facilitate these transformative impacts, like when you were mentioning the college, right?

[01:03:28] Josie Jarvis: I'm sure the college's mission is to be of service to the community that you're in, I think in the Los Angeles area, and to support the growth of students in that area, which certainly your work with TEDx Outreach would be doing. But sometimes we lose focus is our goal as clinicians to support the institutions we're working for, or is our primary goal is to have the institutions provide transformative services for the clients in the communities we're serving together.

[01:03:55] Bill Wong: Oh yeah. That actually made me think about it at a point too, is like our community practice [01:04:00] groups. So sometimes it's it's okay, how open is it? We talk about community practice and sometimes in terms of specific disabilities, it's not a bad thing to actually invite like non OTs to the discussion.

[01:04:15] Bill Wong: Especially people with experiences to share what they experience in particular areas that have interest to us to learn. Important too. 

[01:04:25] Josie Jarvis: I think we need to look at diverse revenue streams to support our associations and think more creatively beyond conference in the modern era that there are different ways that you can support building an income.

[01:04:37] Josie Jarvis: And doing strategic partnerships that can help relieve some of that pressure to have conferences be so inaccessible as the way, as the primary way of generating revenue. Bill, I'm wondering, are you comfortable if we continue having these conversations over time? Cuz I think we're gonna be both following and hopefully supporting each other's careers.

[01:04:57] Josie Jarvis: And I'm definitely gonna keep you looped in [01:05:00] as part of this community. You're always gonna be welcome to share this platform and I'll definitely be highlighting and supporting your work and your TEDx talks. Bill's gonna be partnering on this textbook chapter and we're gonna. Great. A nice way to capture some of his occupational history with how he became involved in TEDx events and the ways that his work has actually shown ways that we can take theory into the field and practice creatively with the OT Without Borders community.

[01:05:27] Josie Jarvis: So definitely everybody that's listening, follow Bill, keep in touch with this discussion. Are you okay if we go into some concluding thoughts, 

[01:05:36] Bill Wong: bill? Yeah, I think otherwise it'll be for hours. I 

[01:05:38] Josie Jarvis: know we might already have to divide this into two episodes, which I'm okay with. Okay. Perfect.

[01:05:44] Josie Jarvis: Bill, do you have, what are on your thoughts as like a conclusionary things in response to this discussion? 

[01:05:50] Bill Wong: Conclusion? I think that I think it's important to be Let's see. I think we talk about mentorship. I think this is very important part, especially for [01:06:00] people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

[01:06:01] Bill Wong: So we talk about not only ethnicity, but also disability, social, economical status. I think that's very important, and I think that is also important to be strategically disruptive to the status quo, a profession, because otherwise we won't grow as a profession, as a result, so I think that these are at least two concluding points that I can make so far.

[01:06:24] Josie Jarvis: I so much, and I am just really grateful for you sharing parts of your history and your example. And it's really helped me feel not as alone too. And also, Navigating pushback in these communities and not being aware of some of those informal curriculum and the unspoken rules of OT leadership.

[01:06:43] Josie Jarvis: And honestly, I've noticed that I think me trying to make those rules more explicit is one of the things that inspires pushback because I think there are some communities in leadership that feel more comfortable with secrecy than making expectations explicit. And that's one of the things I think we [01:07:00] challenge in the disability rights movement is when we're choosing to make things inaccessible, can we be transparent about why and where that's happening?

[01:07:08] Josie Jarvis: And I think that makes people uncomfortable, but that just makes the work even more important to show up for. Because often our clients, especially in the autistic community, Often aren't, don't have the same voices. If you have a voice that's being listened to in these institutions, I think we have an obligation, especially in ot, to partner with different disability, communicate communities to make sure their voices are amplified, especially around access issues.

[01:07:35] Josie Jarvis: And it's our job to imagine and create pathways around these barriers so that we facilitate inclusion, participation and occupational performance, wellbeing, and justice. If we are avoiding this work, I think we're avoiding our work. And so some of the things that I think can help in doing this work is building community and not being alone in it.

[01:07:57] Josie Jarvis: So I already feel less alone knowing [01:08:00] that I have Bill in my community. And I wanna make an open invitation for you to be a part of this community and to get some where you're interested in thinking beyond the individualistic box and start seeing more of the systemic barriers that lead to occupational performance challenges, occupational wellbeing challenges.

[01:08:19] Josie Jarvis: And I hope to share and offer with you guys how occupational science has been a lens that's helped me have an a creative outlet outside of more restrictive cultures of OT practice. So hopefully this can be a lifeline, and if this isn't a lifeline for you, I just want you to keep exploring and not give up hope and know that.

[01:08:38] Josie Jarvis: There are so many people that may need the wisdom and insight for how you've overcome challenges in your own life, and that deserves space to be celebrated, supported, and highlighted. And I hope that maybe we can be part of that community for you, and if not, you'll keep that hope alive, that you'll find people out there that do appreciate [01:09:00] your trailblazing.

[01:09:01] Josie Jarvis: And please keep going. Resource yourself. Take a break if you need to. But we have hundreds of thousands and millions of people all over the world. That are asking us to be leaders in this space and to create change so that they can have a better quality of life. And that fuels me every day. If you're that kind of ot, let's please connect because that's who I'm trying to build community around.

[01:09:25] Josie Jarvis: Not within high school institutions, but also outside of these institutions so we can work together to evolve the ecosystem that we're a part of. I hope you can see and honor the contributions that Dr. Wong has brought to this space, and I hope you can see yourself in his journey and know that you have just as much potential and that we're here to support your growth as an O T P.

[01:09:46] Josie Jarvis: So if you want that mentorship, please reach out. We'll try to find ways to support you and your growth as an occupational being. Thank you so much for joining the podcast today.