Therapist recognised for dedicated service

SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2013
Phillipa Avis Bishop
HELPING OUT: Phillipa Avis Bishop has been recognised for her service to occupational therapy in the wider Auckland region with a Queen’s Service Medal in the 2013 New Year honours.

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A wife and mother of three never expected her family would have a reason to curtsy or bow before her.

But after being awarded a Queen's Service Medal in the 2013 New Year honours for her services to occupational therapy Phillipa Avis Bishop now has an excuse for the royal treatment.

Mrs Bishop began working as an occupational therapist in 1972 but it was not the career she intended for herself.

"I fell into working with people with disabilities at the Wilson Centre where I had a wonderful boss," she says.

Seventeen years ago Mrs Bishop began her own occupational therapy business T4C (Therapy for Children and Adults).

The Bucklands Beach-based organisation provides therapy services for people who have sensory, motor, communication, learning and behavioural difficulties.

"The success of the T4C team has continued for 17 and a half years. I sold the business last year on December 3 to a team of three occupational therapists and I have every confidence T4C is going to go forward the way we established it."

Mrs Bishop will continue working there as an occupational therapist.

Although there has not been one stand-out career highlight she says working alongside the best people in the field and having families share their stories with her has been an "incredible privilege".

"I have the utmost respect for parents who care for children with severe disabilities. I have learnt an enormous amount from them. They have incredible strength and an amazing capacity to teach others if we are prepared to listen," she says.

Mrs Bishop works with children and their families helping them establish everyday activities such as dressing, feeding and play in normal family life.

"Play and having fun are so important for children," she says.

"It's about finding the fun, celebrating small successes and building on these."

Mrs Bishop was aware her name had been put forward for the New Year honours.

"It was such a long time ago so I completely forgot about it. At the time I thought there are a lot of other people in the community who have done a heck of a lot more than me," she says.

"Occupational therapists tend to be undervalued so me getting a Queen's Service Medal gives the profession a lot of credibility and that feels good."

"And also it feels great with the family because I now tell them to bow or curtsy!"

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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