Celtic Maze Blog


The Celtic Maze pattern symbolizes the journey of life and

the path of experience, & learning.  It symbolizes that there are twists, and turns, the challenges and obstacles in life, 

but that there are always open doors.

 “What are you doing for others?”



“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?””

Martin Luther King, Jr.



I recently used my annual yearend blog that reflects on O’Connor OT’s “favorite things” of the year, to reflect on the importance, the value, and the impact of grass roots volunteerism the community where we live.


As I prepare to attend Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day’s Luncheon in Lansing, with the continuous crass and racist words and actions from the sitting U.S. President, I again reflect what should be a call to action. Community service is perhaps more important now than ever, especially in 2017, that has been particularly politically and socially divisive, that I reflect on both the challenges and the opportunities to impact where we live. 




“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead




I am grateful for, and impressed and motivated by the humble individuals and collective groups who generously volunteer their personal time to improve the quality of life in our communities, and indeed are changing the world.



AARP Michigan. “Volunteers are our greatest gift here at AARP.  We couldn’t do many of the things that we do without them.  I am so appreciative that they share their time, their talents and their expertise with us. By doing so they help share important information on topics such as Fraud, how to remain in your home as you age and the better form of walking to reduce impact on joints (these are just a few among the many presentation topics we have).  Our volunteers play an important role in helping make the community a better place for all.” - Karen Kafantaris, AARP Michigan, Associate State Director.


Allen Neighborhood Center, Lansing, MI.  “Every year over 400 neighbors volunteer at Allen Neighborhood Center. These volunteers donate approximately 10,000 hours!  Allen Neighborhood Center relies on volunteers - with our volunteers and interns we are able to operate a year round farmers market, programs for both seniors and youth, a garden house, food access programs, and health and other basic needs enrollment services.  The hours that our volunteers donate equal nearly five full-time equivalent employees, nearly doubling our "staff."” – Denise Paquette, Allen Neighborhood Center, Health & Housing Outreach Director.


Brain Injury Association of Michigan. “BIAMI serves people in the brain injury community across the whole state of Michigan.  Whether is a one-on-one phone call with a lonely survivor or running the world’s largest conference, we are busy year round trying to improve the lives of those affected by brain injury.   Every year we look back in amazement at what we have accomplished.  Our calendars are full with advocacy, awareness, educational and fundraising events.  But with a staff of only 10 people, there is no way we could do what we do without a little help from our friends!  Over 300 volunteers contributed approximately 4000 hours of volunteer involvement and we are forever grateful for each and every one of them.  It is especially gratifying to see the effect of someone with a brain injury who volunteers; not only does it help the volunteer build confidence in themselves and find their value once again; but it challenges others to consider what they can be capable of as well!”  - Kathie Sell, Information and Resources, Brain Injury Association of Michigan


Community Building Services (No Roof Left Behind), Mason, MI. Jared Browers and the team at Community Building Services supported the community by becoming a certified installer for the “No Roof Left Behind” program providing a free roof for a local homeowner.  Nominations were narrowed down by volunteers and the finalist chosen by on-line votes based on need.  The program is not just about rewarding people with roofs, as you see in the nomination written by a neighbor of the home selected I am nominating an outstanding woman, an extraordinary mom, and a woman who gives more than she receives. I recently lost my son unexpectedly, and Tina came to the rescue. This mom of many decided to use her funds to purchase lots of food, toiletries, and paper products to help my family in our time of need. She consistently gave her time, and herself, to help my family and my children. Not only has she done this for me, she has always gone above and beyond to volunteer and help whenever necessary.”


Mason High School’s National Honor Society, Mason, MI. National Honor Society students provide community service to a variety of charitable organizations and programs throughout the Capital region, to support an overall goal to improve their community. I am impressed by the service that my son and his peer students at Mason High School provide to our community now, and I am and encouraged that they are establishing habits of service for a lifetime.   Last school year we had 2,400 reported hours by 68 Mason High School students.”  - Brittany Catalano, Mason High School.


“All that you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”  

Peter Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life




I am proud of my to continue to volunteer my time to two particular organizations, AARP and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan, as a means to honor of the patients and families that I serve, and because I believe that as an OT, there is a calling to be active in the community for activities and movements that benefit the greater good. 


Join us.



For information on more opportunities to volunteer, contact the writer Michael O’Connor by email Michael@oconnorot.com  or phone 517-881-1302.  


The following are links for more information on the organizations above:














Michael Patrick O’Connor, OTRL, CAPS, CBIST, has worked in the field of rehabilitation since 1988 and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy with a minor in Gerontology from Eastern Michigan University in 1994. Michael is an Occupational Therapist and Executive Director of O’Connor Occupational Therapy Services, PLLC in Lansing, Michigan. He can be reached at michael@oconnorot.com http://www.oconnorot.com



“Our Favorite Things" 6th Annual Year in Review; 2017 Edition



Each December, in the spirit of Julie Andrews singing “My Favorite Things,” I compose a yearend blog that reflects on O’Connor OT’s “favorite things” of the year, to share some resources that make the world a little safer, a little more accessible, a little better regardless of our ability or disability. 


As I began to draft this blog, I had a few notes that I had made to myself throughout the year of the usual suspects of gadgets and gizmos. But as I reviewed that list, I thought that my favorite things this year mean a little bit more.



Read more at  www.Celticmaze.wordpresss.com



A Bit of Blue by Sue Spencer


“ABC’s” Strategies for Caregivers Managing Stress



Caregiving.  Until you began caring for a spouse or aging parent you probably thought the role of caregiver applied to the role of a parent to a child.  The role of caregiving in relationship with a spouse or aging parent can vary from fairly incidental support for medication set up and assistance with medical appointment management, to 24 hour care for physical assistance with personal care due to progressive illness, or assistance for safety and behavior management due to dementia.





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untitled, by Sue Spencer



The English language is replete with ways to simply say, “I’m tired," perhaps because fatigue is a nearly universal phenomenon that we have all experienced at one time or another. Whether it is rubbing tired eyes and yawning while trying to pay attention to a long lecture, or finishing an exercise routine and your legs feeling “like jello”, we have all experienced the inconvenience and irritation of feeling fatigued. But for brain injury survivors, fatigue is one of the most common and sometimes most debilitating symptoms during the recovery process, becoming a barrier to doing the things they need and want to do in their day to day lives.



Read more at Strategies to manage Neurofatigue



I Grow... by Nikki Booth

Lessons learned from my Yoga Mat that make me a better OT.  Subtitled: An Old Dog can learn new Tricks



Perhaps the more obvious benefits yoga are related to movement. Yoga poses are excellent exercise to improve range of motion (joint movement), and to increase muscle strength through weight bearing and isometric muscle exercise.  Yoga is excellent “gross motor” exercise which from a neurological standpoint is the foundation to address residual hemi paresis (one sided weakness) and improve fine motor coordination. Yoga poses provide proprioceptive input to increase our proprioceptive sense (awareness of body in space, awareness of arms and legs to body).  Movement and yoga poses provide input to our vestibular sense (balance).


Read more at  www.Celticmaze.wordpresss.com





What does March Madness have to do with Brain Injury Awareness Month?


In twenty-plus of occupational therapy practice, the majority of it serving individuals and families in rehabilitation after a brain injury, I’ve observed some common characteristics of those who seem to cope and adapt more easily or more successfully. Although the list that follows started as a few bullet points, and morphed to loosely look like the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, there is NOT a sequence to these as “steps” to move through as a hierarchy. Rather I have recognized these all as important building blocks in the foundation of rehabilitation and resumption of roles.


Read more at  www.Celticmaze.wordpresss.com



“Successful Resolutions for the New Year”


"Lose weight" "fitness/ exercise more," and "budget / spend less"are in the top 5 resolutions made and broken in 2015.  I tapped my local friends and colleagues to bring you their suggestions and recommendations as experts in their fields for this presentation and this blog.  Dr. Brooke Van Buren Hay, PhD, JD, psychologist and attorney, provides strategies for helping people make successful behavioral changes to meet resolutions goals.  Carrie Crandall, RD Registered Dietician, offers suggestions for improving nutrition in 2016. Matt Malcangi, Certified Personal Trainer, provides recommendations for improving your fitness level and to maintain a healthy exercise program this year.  And from OT perspective,  I offered advice with money management / budgeting and sorting "wants" from "needs."



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Harvest by Sue Spencer



…One particular evening in the weeks prior to Christmas, David received a Christmas card with a personal note from a family member. After reading the card and the message to him, a woman who was also a resident on the care unit, said something to David to the effect of “Honey, you should put that in your room so you don’t lose it.”  I can still see David and hear his reply. David was a man who through Dementia had experienced many losses, who often did not have enough language to express himself, calmly and profoundly responded “I will keep it in my heart.”


read more at www.Celticmaze.wordpresss.com



Jon (photo courtesty of Michelle)

It Doesn't Matter How Many Times You Get Knocked Down


This is the story of Jon's hard work, determination, and accomplishment. As guest writer, Michelle gives voice to a Pollyanna hope of mine that someday our society will be comfortable speaking about brain injury, cognitive deficits, behavior, depression, and mental illness the same way we talk openly about physical illness and musculoskeletal injuries. Thank you Michelle for your very honest, thoughtful post. Congratulations Jon!



Read more at 





Mom and Dad. Circa 1964

"Somebody’s Mother" Happy Mother’s Day 2013


My Dad taught me a poem. Not as a child, not by telling me about it. Rather, from the depths of Dad’s dementia before his death. Even on days when his world was full of disorientation and confusion. He would randomly recite a few lines “the woman was old and ragged and gray...”


Read more at 





Read more blog posts by O'Connor, go to http://celticmaze.wordpress.com/

The Celtic Maze pattern symbolizes the journey of life and the path of experience, & learning.  It symbolizes that there are twists, and turns, the challenges and obstacles in life, but that there are always open doors.

O’Connor Occupational Therapy Opens Doors to opportunities for individuals to live safely and independently in their community through RehabilitationEducation, and Adaptation.

517-881-1302 michael@oconnorot.com
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