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Katie O'Day is an occupational therapist who is passionate about policy and advocacy. She is the author of the Visual Activity Sort, a strengths-based and trauma-informed assessment and intervention tool that helps youth build resilience and reach their full potential. Incorporating visual tools, like pictures and emojis, as seen in the VAS, are invaluable in connecting with youth to help them identify and achieve self-determined occupation-focused goals.

Katie's mission is to promote the use of strengths-based and trauma-informed approaches when working with youth, and to teach others about these approaches through professional development. She is committed to creating tools and resources that are identity and neurodiversity affirming, and that help all youth feel seen, heard, and valued.


My Values.

I believe that all youth have the right to reach their full potential, regardless of their background or circumstances. I am committed to supporting historically disadvantaged and marginalized youth, and I believe that strengths-based approaches are the most effective way to do this.

Strengths-based approaches focus on identifying and building on a person's strengths, rather than focusing on their weaknesses. This approach is particularly important for working with youth who have experienced trauma or marginalization, as it helps them to see themselves in a positive light and to develop a sense of agency.

I am also committed to social justice and occupational justice. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in meaningful occupations, and I work to create an equitable society where everyone has the same opportunities.

I believe that occupation-based practice is the best way to support youth. Occupation-based practice focuses on helping youth to participate in the activities that are meaningful to them. This approach is holistic and takes into account the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive factors that impact a person's ability to participate in occupations.

I am also a strong believer in positive psychology and neurobiology. I believe that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all influenced by our brains, and that we can change our brains by changing our thoughts and behaviors. This is why I focus on helping youth to develop positive coping skills and to build resilience.

I believe that interoception is essential for self-regulation and for developing a sense of self. Interoception is the ability to feel and understand our own bodies, and it is often underdeveloped in youth who have experienced trauma or marginalization. I work with youth to develop their interoceptive awareness, so that they can better understand their own bodies and their own needs.

I am also a strong advocate for trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care is an approach to working with people who have experienced trauma that is respectful and understanding. It recognizes that trauma can have a profound impact on a person's life, and it seeks to create a safe and supportive environment where people can heal.

I believe that identity and neurodiversity affirming approaches are essential for supporting youth. These approaches recognize that everyone is unique, and that our identities and neurodiversities are a part of who we are. They also recognize that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and that we all need support to reach our full potential.

I believe that collaborative self-determined goal setting is essential for supporting youth. This approach involves working with youth to identify their own goals, and then working together to develop a plan to achieve those goals. This approach is empowering for youth, and it helps them to take ownership of their own lives.

About Me.

I am a passionate occupational therapist who is active in both local and national OT associations. Katie is currently the legislative chair of the Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon. She helped create legislation requiring the Oregon Department of Education to do a work study to look into recommending appropriate methodology for workloads for occupational, physical and speech therapists serving Oregon schools. I love connecting with OTs and furthering our profession with strengths-based & trauma-informed approaches through professional development opportunities. 

Interests: beaches, rivers & mountains, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, dogs, time with family & friends, neurobiology, positive psychology, OT conferences, gardening/plants, architecture




Temple University (expected)

Katie is currently enrolled in Temple University's post-professional doctorate program. Her capstone is around assuring that the Visual Activity Sort is seen by stakeholders, both professionals and there potential clients as useful, strengths-based, and trauma-informed. She is also working on developing the Strengths Approach as an online continuing education course. 


Pacific University

Katie achieved her masters in occupational therapy from Pacific University in 2011. She studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa with the Volunteer Adventure Corps. She completed her capstone, an "innovative practice project" with local non-profit, Outside In, where she first developed the Visual Activity Sort as a client-centered collaborative goal setting tool using pictures of occupation/activity cards and emojis to help narrow down what strengths youth have and what areas they want to improve upon.


B.S Exercise Science

Oregon State University

Katie completed her bachelor of science in exercise and sports science. She was an active member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority and held a role as the Vice President of Moral Advancement. She volunteered for local organization including SMART- Start Making A Reader Today and at the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual summer camps.

Conference Presentations & Publications.

-Presenter at TIES Conference in Oregon 2023

-Establishing Initial Inter & Intra-rater and Content Validity for Visual Activity Sort in press with OJOT 2023

-Presenter at the AOTA Inspire Conference 2023 including: Examining & Selecting Assessments that are Inclusive of Diverse Service Recipients & A Policy Panel regarding School-Based OT including Caseload/Workload

Katie began ppOTD program at Temple University in Fall 2022. Qualitative Studies underway to look at stakeholder input for the VAS including clients with lived experiences and researchers/experts & advocates.

-Presenter at the AOTA mental health specialty conference in 2022

-Presenter at the Oregon OT Association in fall 2022

-Presenter at TIES Conference in Oregon in spring 2022

-Preliminary research is underway @ Rutgers for reliability & validity of the VAS expected results in 2023

-Poster Presenter at American Occupational Therapy Association's Children's and Youth Specialty Conference in December 2021

-Poster Presenter at American Public Health Association Conference in 2021

-OT Online Side Hustle & Beyond Presenter in September, 2021

-Exhibitor at the Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado's Conference in 2021

-Presenter @ Iowa Occupational Therapy Association's Conference in 2021

-Presenter @ Florida Occupational Therapy Association's Annual Conference in 2021

-Presenter @ Mountain West Occupational Therapy Association Conference in 2021

-Launched for sale at the American Occupational Therapy Association's Inspire conference in 2021

-The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Independent Living and Community Participation at Temple University is currently using the VAS with clients who struggle with mental illness to improve their outcomes.

-The VAS is currently being used by researchers at Penn State University. The grant funded research studies participation among individuals with autism living in rural parts of the state.

Artifacts Created as ppOTD student at Temple University

The following were developed alongside coursework I participated in as I worked toward my doctoral degree. The images reflect the research efforts for the Visual Activity Sort and my progam design for an online course, Strengths Approach which is currently in development. 

Mind Map

Logic Model

Program Theory

Evaluation Methods

Evaluation Matrix

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