Johanna Brown, '11, Austill’s Rehabilitation and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Occupational Therapy

Johanna (Jahn) Brown, a 2011 graduate from Calvin’s pre-Occupational Therapy program, is finding fulfillment in helping young children develop their fine motor skills and recover from injuries that affect their movement.

Johanna was licensed as an Occupational Therapist after she participated in Calvin’s 3-2 partnership with Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. This program allowed her to spend her first three years of college at Calvin and then go on to Washington University’s graduate program. Because her first year credits at Washington University also applied to her Calvin degree, she was able to graduate from both schools within a year of each other: Calvin in 2011 and Washington University in 2012.

While she was in graduate school, Johanna used video motion capture to analyze hand movements, and her research was published in HAND, a journal for the American Association for Hand Surgery. Johanna also participated in two internships, one with the Orthopedic Associates of Michigan and the other with Mary Free Bed, in which she worked with individuals with hand injuries or spinal cord injuries, respectively.

Since completing her master’s and being registered with the National Board of Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), Johanna has been working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a contract Occupational Therapist with Austill’s Rehabilitation. She works with preschool-aged children to develop motor skills that will be vital to them as they continue their education.

“I work with children to help them be able to participate in their learning environment with the least restrictions,” she says. “I work on upper body and hand strengthening, developing fine motor skills that are pre-requisites for proper hand writing techniques, letter formation, social interactions, sensory integration, clothing management for toileting, putting on and taking off jackets, and tying shoes.”

Many of the children have physical disabilities, learning disabilities, or sensory processing disorders that inhibit their abilities to carry out such tasks without assistance or special instruction.

In addition to her work with Austill’s Rehabilitation, Johanna is an Occupational Therapist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where she assists children with moderate to severe injuries or disorders such as spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, spina bifida, shaken baby syndrome, or genetic disorders.

Johanna points to Calvin as her foundation for learning. In addition to giving her the tools to apply her Christian values to all areas of life, her time at Calvin taught her the value of teamwork and collaboration, as well as the value of education itself.

Though her formal education may be over, Johanna realizes the importance of keeping an open mind.

“Always continue to learn. There are so many areas in which occupational therapists can work, so be prepared to explore all the possibilities out there. Also, stay in touch with your fellow classmates. They are very knowledgeable in their own areas of interest, and you never know when you might need to call on them for assistance.”

Posted August 2013