Friday Feature: Melissa McKaig, Occupational Therapist

Being an occupational therapist in the school setting allows Melissa McKaig the opportunity to work with a variety of ages and skill sets and to have fun while doing so.  

“The best part is that I get to disguise my work as ‘play’ to motivate my younger students and to collaborate on goals with the older ones.”  

McKaig came to District 7 in 2011 after previously working in Missouri in an outpatient head injury clinic. She works with students at Leclaire, Hamel, Midway, Worden, Columbus, Liberty and EHS.  

“Working with kids has always been my passion, so I was ecstatic when an occupational therapy position opened with D7.” 

In her position, McKaig supports a students’ ability to participate in daily school activities or “occupations”. 

“OT services support a student’s achievement in the areas of play/leisure, academics, self-care, social participation, and transition/work skills. By focusing on the students’ strengths, we help design and implement programming to improve inclusion and accessibility.” 

The occupational therapy field incorporates McKaig’s passion to help others and to think outside the box to develop goals meaningful to the individual.

“I love how versatile the field is, in that we can work with all ages and address various skills to increase independence. Every person is different, so the job is never boring.” 

Just as every person is different, so is every day.  

“Since I travel to different buildings, I get to work with different grade levels and also get to learn from and communicate ideas with our amazing educators.”  

Because of the students she works with, her position does not feel like a job.  

“Their energy and enthusiasm make the day fun!  They motivate me to continuously find creative ways to work on difficult skills. They teach me something new each treatment session and reward my efforts with their progress.”