Who is Betsy?

About Betsy Kennedy – Professional

Betsy Kennedy, MS, OTR, CLT, CLYL has extensive knowledge of the developmentally delayed population. Her over 25 years of experience have provided her a variety of perspectives, resulting in a unique understanding of, and appreciation for, the challenges of working with individuals who are developmentally delayed.  As a childcare worker and houseparent for over three years at Perkins School for the Blind, she lived in the dormitory with the children, ages 6-16 years. She also served for two years as a live-in staff person in a Perkins group home for eight visually impaired, DD adults.  These experiences led her to become an Occupational Therapist.

Since 1988, Betsy has been a consultant and occupational therapist in group homes, public schools, special education collaboratives, a Head Start Program, a variety of sheltered workshop settings, day-habilitation centers, pediatric outpatient clinics, nursing & rehab facilities, hospital inpatient and has provided direct occupational therapy services for home health care. Her expertise has expanded from pediatrics to senior care, specifically dementia care. This may sound like an odd mix of populations, yet both deal a lot with basic daily life skills. Both groups need a certain amount of creativity to help make a goal happen.

Betsy uses knowledge of sensory integration and its dysfunction to enhance her therapeutic interventions. No skill or task can be performed without input from our senses on the situation, and feedback from the senses to tell us how we did. Keeping this perspective on treatment gives each individual a distinct advantage for progress. Betsy is certified in the administration of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests.

As Betsy Kennedy (formally Jacobs) continued to provide the best care and service possible, she created and has the copyright for the Jacobs Inventory of Functional Skills (JIFS).  This assessment/treatment tool finally allows therapists and caregivers to work with adult individuals with developmental delays without treating them as children. As mentioned earlier, the opposite ends of the life span have similar needs for basic life skills. The JIFS makes it possible to approach low-functioning adults with the respect of an adult. To meet the needs of dementia care, the JIFS is currently being revised.

The Life Skills Edition of the JIFS is now available as software for PCs and Mac: CompuJIFS!

Betsy’s professional growth includes getting certification as a Lymphedema Therapist and Laughter Yoga Leader, as well as training in the use of KinesioTape.

Betsy Kennedy, MS, OTR, CLT, CLYL is the founder of Strategies for Better Functioning, LLC.

About Betsy Kennedy – Personal

Betsy has always gained great personal satisfaction in helping others, so having a career in an allied health profession was natural. She is also a very practical and likes “hands-on” work, so occupational therapy (OT) was the clear choice for her. OT deals with daily, functional, meaningful skills. The tasks that make each of us unique. Occupational therapy is the therapeutic use of work, self-care and play activities to increase development, independence and to prevent disability. It may include the use of adaptive equipment or adaptation of the environment. To learn more about the interesting beginning of occupational therapy, click here.

Some of the unique skills which Betsy brings to her work are her resourcefulness, creativity, and sense of humor. She firmly believes in the healing power of positive and humorous thinking, thus becoming a Laughter Yoga Leader was inevitable. She has also lived and worked in a variety of situations where money was very scarce, but adaptations still needed to be made. She has made numerous pieces of adaptive equipment at a fraction of the cost for a similar item in a catalog. Some examples are switches to activate computers or “help” buzzers, bath support seats out of PVC pipe, and a variety of jigs to assist people in clerical tasks.

Betsy Kennedy likes a puzzle and a challenge. You might say she specializes in anything that does not go “by the book.” Many people comment how they appreciate her “thinking outside the box” approach to problems. Betsy claims she doesn’t even have a box.

Got a question? Contact Betsy at bjkennedy@betterfunctioning.com.

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