Living the OT Way

Dr. Leslie Hardman identifies as an OT and sees teaching as an extension of that role.

“I worked with clients for 30 years before getting my OTD,” explained Hardman, who is currently an assistant professor at EKU.


As a practitioner, she loves working with every age group, from 3-year-olds to senior citizens. As an instructor, she loves sharing that passion with OT students.

“We are launching new therapists into the profession so that they are prepared, and I truly believe they will make a difference,” she said.

Although Hardman earned her OTD online at another university, she has plenty of advice to offer EKU Online students. “In an online program, you build relationships with colleagues all over the nation. My former classmates are some of my best professional resources.”

What sets EKU’s program apart is that it is fully online with relatively small class sizes and the expertise of EKU faculty. Hardman earned her undergraduate degree at EKU and credits Dr. Shirley O’Brien with encouraging her to continue her education. “Dr. O’Brien is a house on fire when it comes to OT. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and dedicated to each and every one of her students.”

Hardman says OT is a rewarding career path. “I’m always reminding students that the scope is so broad. There are positions in nursing homes, schools, camps and so many other settings.”

She sees OT applications outside of work, too. “We live the OT way at my house,” she says. She volunteers with a church group in her local community. She’s always collaborating with likeminded people to educate families about fall risk or help a neighbor get her walker adjusted. When she worked as a cook at a special needs camp over the summer, she even used her feeding therapy background to make mealtime more fun for campers. 

Her OTD has enhanced the way she views the profession. “I decided to get my OTD because I wanted to teach, but it’s also made me a much better therapist,” said Hardman.

Watch a sample from Dr. Hardman’s Early Childhood Sensorimotor Development course. 

Published on December 30, 2015