After graduation, Kniquiah Hughes, OTD, OTR/L (OTD ’21) returned to his home in the West Indies and became Anguilla’s first occupational therapist. The population of the Caribbean island is about 15,000. She then began her Occupational Therapy (OT) practice serving clients in her home and all schools on the island on World Occupational Therapy Day 2021 (October 27).
On May 26, 2022, Dr. Hughes opened an OT clinic named Wellness Ave. CEO and founder of his Hughes, PhD, says Wellness Ave.’s goal is to provide adult, adolescent, and pediatric interventions. The clinic has two rooms, one for adults and one for pediatrics. She specializes in autism, dementia and stroke patients.
“There’s a lot to learn, a lot to do,” she says. “One of the challenges is defending insurance companies and governments, who often struggle to differentiate between OT and physical therapy (PT). It’s about helping you understand.”
“I give myself a lot of grace. It has become one of my favorite words.”
In addition to his practice work, Dr. Hughes is Vice President of the Caribbean Association of Occupational Therapists (ACOT). She has presented on the topic of Facilitating Occupational Performance in Adolescents with Disabilities in Anguilla at several national and international conferences, including the 2021 ACOT Biennial Conference, the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference, and the World Federation of Occupational Therapy International Conferences. .
connection with students
Recently, Dr. Hughes spoke with students who are part of the COTAD chapter (Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity) on the San Marcos, California campus.
“I was going to be a physiotherapist in school, but after being denied admission to 20 PTD schools and colleges for over three years, I was very depressed,” she said. “Then I met my cousin who is an occupational therapist. My mind was blown!”
“I loved the purely holistic one-on-one interaction that OT brings and the ‘show me how to manipulate an issue to make you happy again’ approach.”
She then applied to only one OT university, USAHS, and got an immediate response. She enrolled in her MOT program at her Miami campus in 2018, but she soon transferred to her OTD cohort. “We were only 15 of hers, but it was a pretty diverse group,” she recalls.
When asked how his time at USAHS prepared him for the trip, Dr. Hughes replied: I don’t have all the answers so this is helpful. Connection is the key! ”
Dr. Hughes told his students that he was so grateful for his journey and that not everyone’s steps look the same. Keep doing it!”