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The How Do I? Blog

The How Do I? Blog

#TakeFiveWith Zoe Bayles

Take Five With Zoe Bayles - Zoe stands with her arms crossed and is smiling into the camera

Take Five With Zoe Bayles - Zoe stands with her arms crossed and is smiling into the camera

Could you tell us about yourself and your job role? And one hobby/fun fact?

The purpose of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in daily activities (or occupations) to improve their health, independence and wellbeing. Occupations for children or young people may include self-care (dressing, eating a meal, using the toilet, making a simple meal), being productive (participating in activities and routines at nursery or school, or volunteering), and leisure (playing with friends, doing sports or hobbies).

Fun fact: I was on antiques roadshow.


What is a typical day like for you?

So I work 9-5pm and am based in a special school in Camden which is great for joint working with education. I work alongside school staff, parents and other members of multi-disciplinary team to ensure the best provision for learners.

Occupational Therapists provides a unique perspective on how to promote participation and independence in everyday activities. During my day I might be running a group for older learners related to developing their independence in toileting, carrying out an individual session to assess a learner for a specialist seating system to help them access the circulumn, running training (with a speech and language therapist) for school staff on promoting good oral hygiene for learners with complex physical needs, writing activity programmes for home and in addition to working with learners in the school environment, I also visit them and their families at home.


Every day is completely different and that's what makes it so fun!


Could you tell us how you got into your role?

I did lots of volunteering in secondary school at my local community centre and then I went on to work in an Irish outdoor and watersports activity centre where I was qualified instructor in canoeing, kayaking, power boating, orienteering and archery.

I gained lots of experience working with people with a range of disabilities and supporting them to access any occupations they wanted during their holiday. Occupation is our fancy word for things you want to do, need to do and are expected to do in your daily life. Important stuff! We definitely got away with being very creative back then, I even adapted a canoe for a wheelchair user!


What motivates you to do a good job?

Knowing that whatever activity I'm supporting someone to participate in is so meaningful to the individual, their family and school staff. That's the whole point of occupational therapy! Also knowing that the Camden Occupational therapy team are happy at work!


How do you learn at work?

Talking and listening to everyone. Sometimes the questions we ask don't achieve the real answers so it's important to take time. Also off Twitter! Add me @zoebaylesOT


What are your aims for the next year? For example, if you work in accessibility do you have any plans to help make workplaces more inclusive? If you work in Learning and Development how are you going to promote workplace learning?

What a great question! To increase the reach of Occupational Therapy by also using our skills to promote health, wellbeing and participation for all children and their families and support the future of the profession.


Swiss Cottage School website:

Swiss Cottage School Twitter Account: @SwissCottageSch


Would you like to share your story or raise awareness about the work you’re doing? Do you know someone in the tech, design, accessibility, inclusion or learning and development sector who would like to tell their story in the #TakeFiveWith series? Contact Zeinab at