McIntosh ‘11 Named to Bahamas 40 Under 40 List
When Shenika McIntosh ‘11 announced to her family that she would be attending D'Youville for Occupational Therapy, they were slightly more amazed and even more annoyed than most when a loved one decides to go to college out of town. That’s because McIntosh had chosen a college in Buffalo, NY, a city renowned for its long, harsh winters, over a school in the sunny paradise of the Bahamas where she was raised.
“They often questioned my ability to adapt to the cold weather since [I was] born and raised in a sunny paradise, but that didn’t stop me from graduating in 2011,” jokes McIntosh.
McIntosh was just named to the “Bahamas 40 Under 40” list by Professional Services Bahamas, a recognition she doesn’t take lightly. “I was so ecstatic to learn I was selected,” she says. “It was a humbling experience. I’ve always been an assiduous worker and finally, someone noticed my efforts. What a feeling!”
When McIntosh returned home after graduation, she accepted two positions: one at a public hospital focused on acute care and outpatient rehabilitation and another at a neurological center for children; but she had an entrepreneurial spirit pushing her for more. She opened Occupational Therapy Consulting Services in October 2016, which specializes as a pediatric practice with an office space providing center-based, school-based, and home healthcare options.
McIntosh has made huge strides in advocating for her profession in the Bahamas. She is the founding member and president of the Occupational Therapy Association of the Bahamas (OTAB), which is a member of the Association of Caribbean Occupational Therapists. She also serves as the delegate for the Bahamas for the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT).
McIntosh is also passionate towards helping those with autism, as the majority of her caseload is comprised of children on the spectrum. McIntosh serves as a consultant to three private early-learning facilities and advocates for including those on the spectrum within the education system in the Bahamas.
“I provide hands-on training with teachers from both public and private schools to equip educators with skills and knowledge to assist every child in optimizing their learning experience,” she says. “I also provide counsel on curriculum development, play-based therapy, and adaptive equipment.”
"I want to change the world’s view towards disability,” she adds.
On top of her work in healthcare, McIntosh has served as a volunteer coach for Special Olympics Bahamas for the past five years and was selected to travel to Abu Dhabi with the team this past March for the World Games.
“I started out as a volunteer because I felt I wasn’t doing enough to reach people with special needs,” she says. “I wanted to be involved in an organization that proved that disabilities didn’t mean disadvantaged, it meant the ability to do the impossible.”
As a team of 30 athletes, 14 took home medals from the games, including 6 of McIntosh’s track athletes. “I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of the Special Olympics team. What an experience,” she reflects. “I think that was the best part of the games — seeing those Olympians’ faces light up with pride and joy when they stood on the platform with their medals. That made every sacrifice worth it.”