Jan 12     18 min read

Meet the Host

Updated: Feb 24

Jamie Lord-Tovar our host has the tables turned on her. Learn more about the amazing host and where the podcast is headed in the future.  

Veata:  0:20 

Thank you for joining us for another episode of I am Abel. The goal of our podcast is to bring acceptance and awareness to our communities when working with educating and living with people of all abilities. Thank you for joining us for another episode of I am able today we have a special guest host. My name is Veata Betton. We also have Linda Whitney as our special guest host. And the reason why we are special guests on this episode is because we will be interviewing our amazing host, Jamie Lord Tovar.

Jamie:  1:02 

Hello, everyone.

Jamie:  1:04 

So you guys, finally the tables have turned you’re able to ask me the questions.

Veata:  1:13 

And thank you, Jamie, for joining us today.

Jamie:  1:17 

My pleasure.

Veata:  1:20 

So I’d also like to start off Jamie, if you can tell us a little bit about yourself and who you work for what your role is

Jamie:  1:29 

Sure. So I I am a occupational therapy assistant, also known as a coda certified occupational therapy assistant. And I worked for Total Education Solutions. I’ve been working for total education solutions for almost three years. And before that, I worked for the Institute for the Redesign of Learning as a job coach.

Jamie:  1:59 

So between the two companies I’ve been here about seven years.

Jamie:  2:05 

I attended school for occupational therapy assisting at Santa Ana College in Anaheim.

Jamie:  2:14 

And before I became a CODA, I have had a lot of different jobs. In my past, I am one of those people who likes to know a little bit about a lot of things. I worked for Walt Disney World in Florida for about 13 years. I also have worked as a admin assistant for a couple different temp agencies. I was an artist I worked at art foundry for a couple of years and then I also create some of my own art so that’s kind of just a brief a brief explanation of some of my my prior experience, so I feel like I’ve know a little bit about a lot of things which makes me a very well rounded therapist perfect for our podcasts

Veata:  3:17 

exactly Wow. I didn’t know that you also were an artist. And so I am

Jamie: 3:20

Yes,  I do mainly sculptures. I do a lot of paper mâché. Día de los Muertos is my day, the day of the dead is my favorite holiday. And so a lot of my pieces are some type of skeleton. And then I also do some painting, but it’s most of that’s more just for my own personal pleasure.

Veata:  3:50 

Oh, wow, that sounds great. Nice. So do you mind telling us, Jamie, a little bit of how did you become the host for I am able?

Jamie:  4:03 

Well, I decided to join our DEI group back in the summer. And we were talking about different things that we could do to help make people feel more a part of the community. And so we decided the group that we would start a podcast, and everyone was a little seemed like maybe a little reluctant to be the host. My previous experience at Disney and when I I worked in the parking lot and I was on a tram. People would always tell me what a nice voice I have. I had other people who have in the past have told me that I have a nice calming voice. So I was like, Okay, well, no one really is jumping up and down to be the host. So I think I will do it. It sounds like it’s something I’ve never done before. something totally new and I thought why not? It’s you know, I love to talk to people. I’m, I’m a lot like my mother and that way is that you know, anybody who’s willing to talk to me, I’m more than willing to to talk with them too. I find that you know, you find out many interesting things about people just by starting like a casual conversation.

Veata: 5:25

Very true. With that, and we love your voice, we definitely feel your voice is perfect for the podcast

Jamie:  5:30 

Thank you.

Veata:  5:35 

Thank you so much. So that goes into our next question. What is it like interviewing our guests?

Jamie: 5:40

Um, it’s  a lot of fun. Sometimes, I get a little worried that I’m so I’m listening to what’s being said that I’m going to forget, like, some interesting questions to ask later on. Maybe some follow up questions. So really, the, the hardest part is just being able to like to have a question and then find a good point in which to, to ask that question.

Linda:  6:13 

Do you do your research prior to like, we did an episode on Tourette’s? Do you kind of research a little bit before you get on there? I know, we have like a certain number of questions that we have to ask, or is this just based on your knowledge of your previous works?

Jamie:  6:33 

It really depends on the subject matter. I didn’t know a lot about Tourette’s ahead of time, you know, kind of just things that I’ve heard about it, just, you know, kind of in passing. So I did do a little bit of research.

Jamie:  6:53 

For like, the Occupational Therapy interviews that we’ve had, I haven’t because I’m an occupational therapy assistant, I really didn’t do any, any research with that. And then, you know, and then I’ve had you guys have been able to help me with some of the questions. So, it’s been kind of a combination.

Jamie:  7:15 

I’d like to have some questions that way I already have kind of planned out, just so that I have an idea of where the interview is going to go. When I interviewed Sarah, we only had a handful of questions. So it was more kind of on the fly, which I felt a little nervous about, but apparently it worked out just fine. So I guess to adapt, yes.

Veata:  7:44 

Do you have a favorite guest?

Jamie: 7:48

Oh, my goodness, I you know, I have really I love them all. I don’t, I don’t know that I could really, um, have a favorite. Maybe I would have to say if I had to absolutely choose one, it would be my interview with Josh who’s our nonverbal teenager because that was just, I wasn’t really sure what how that was going to go. Even though I know him pretty well. And I work with him on a weekly basis. We weren’t really sure. You know how long he would want to communicate. And it was kind of funny, because the day that we talked with him was not one of his days that he’s really super, wanted to be communicative. But he did. And, and it turned out to be kind of a neat interview. And I know that a lot of other people enjoyed that one too. My favorite? Yeah, the thing I love about our podcasts is that I am learning so much about so many different people about their abilities, everything just by listening to these podcasts because I didn’t know anything about nonverbal autistic people or about Tourette’s. So, it’s fascinating to listen to learn to be educated, and we couldn’t do without you. Oh, thank you. Well, it’s been fun and yeah, I mean, just getting to know a little bit like I guess I am one of the perfect people to do this podcast because I like to know a little bit about a lot of things so this It’s been fun and I can’t wait till this coming year to talk to you know more people and try to come up with a guest who have some other very unique experiences in their lives.

Veata:  9:34 

Lovely. So over the year, what podcast actually surprised or shocked you?

Jamie:  9:46 

Oh Um, well, I think really like the just The first one, we kind of we released them in not exactly in the order that they were recorded. But the first one that I did was with Natalie. And she was one of our adult clients who is employed, and she has a job coach. And so I guess that one was probably because it was the very first one. It was kind of shocking that she opened up so much to, to me, you know, I really liked that, that, you know, it was, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, because neither one of us had ever done anything like that before. But it was just how I was so proud of her for being able to, you know, kind of let us know about her life. And really, we get a sense of what it’s like to be, you know, an adult with special needs. So I think that that was probably Yeah, it was it was kind of shocking how successful it was, I guess.

Veata:  11:13 

Love it she did open up a lot.

Jamie:  11:19 

She was great. It was so it was it was perfect to, you know, introduce us to right world. Right. And then I think also and then there was there was Mary, who was special needs, who’s also helping others. And I just thought that that was just so great. Because it was like, you know, that was so important to her and her life, she just seemed so fulfilled in her life with helping others and just what a huge thing to be able to do for other people is, you know, to be able to help them and be able to relate. So that was another one.

Veata:  12:02 

What was the most informative? Since you are so well rounded? Jamie? What was the most informative podcast for you? I know, for me, I’ve learned from everyone that I listen to. But I’m not as well rounded as you are so.

Jamie:   12:25 

Oh, wow. I mean, I’ve, I’ve learned something I’ve learned quite a bit, I think in every single podcast, even the ones that you know, like that had to do with occupational therapy, because, you know, everybody’s experience is so different. Oh, wow, that’s a, that’s a tough one. I think Marissa is dad, and just the, the autistic teenager who just been able to experience like, from the time that she was diagnosed, and just kind of going through his emotions, and some of the experiences that they had, and just his feelings as, as a parent, you know, being able to see that side of, of autism or I think was was really informative for me.

Veata:  13:19 

Very true. I mean, I think that one touched me as well too. Because the father, he just wanted his daughter to progress and, um, you know, live a beautiful, amazing life and he had no problems, helping her and guiding her, whichever, whatever she needed. And that was a beautiful interview. So definitely agree.

Jamie: 13:40

Yeah, I love to tell people about, especially if they’re parents that are struggling with their children and thinking they may have autism, that that particular interview, and then also the one Marissa herself. And then Enrique the musician, who was also teaching others music, I thought, you know, these guys have, they seem very happy, very fulfilled in there, you know, in their lives. They have a lot of drive, they have ambitions, their hopes, their dreams, just like everybody else. And you know, it’s just like, we’re all we’re all the same deep down, you know, we all have the same basic needs and wants, I believe.

Veata:  14:37 

You know, I think I think it’s very interesting because, as you were speaking, you know, Enrique and Mary are also helping, but I know that there’s been a few of our other guests like Avery a lot of our guests are actually helping and giving back to their own communities. And so I think that that’s very very valuable.

Veata:  15:01 

Where do you see the podcast going?

Jamie:  15:06 

Well, we’ve talked about going from just being audio to be audio and video so that we can see our guest Live, which I think would be a nice, a nice touch, I hope to have at least two guests a month continuing and talk to people of different backgrounds with, you know, people who we think of as being typical people that we think of as having some form of sort of diagnosis. Again, just, you know, being able to tell our stories, and, you know, kind of just be able to continue to walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes, just see what it’s like to, to be somebody else.

Linda:  16:02 

definitely agree.

Linda:  16:04 

And what do you feel is kind of the value of us being able to walk into somebody else’s shoes, especially for someone who’s not privy to having those individuals around them.

Jamie: 16:10

I think by just hearing other people’s stories, that that we’re able to better relate to one another. And then you know, if you’re out somewhere, and you’ve seen somebody having some sort of issue, having a breakdown, if it’s if they’re an autistic child that, that you have a little bit better understanding of, okay, this is this is what’s going on that, you know, just to have more awareness of others, and just being able to be more accepting when we see things that aren’t what we consider normal, or, you know, typical to just be, you know, that’s one of the things I love about living in California is it feels like, as opposed to other states that I’ve lived in, that were the people who are different are more welcomed, that it’s okay to be different. I mean, like, I, I, myself, not never wanted to be like everybody else. So I’ve made it a point my whole life to be a little bit different. But not everybody feels that way. And people want to feel like you know, I love to feel that I have a connection with other people. But I also have my own my own personality and my own thing. But I also know that you know, we’re all interconnected in this world, that we all need each other. We can’t just be one lone person. And if we have a better understanding of some people, then we’re more likely to want to understand other people.

Veata:  17:56 

Why did you become an occupational therapy?

Jamie:  18:02 

Well, as I, I’ve mentioned to you before, I have a wide variety of, of skills. And about 10 years ago, I was looking for something new to do I, I’ve been in an admin assistant, and I had been an artist, and I loved being an artist and working in an art foundry. I was a wax chaser, which is the foundry hired us artists, other local artists hired us to make bronze reproductions of their work. And yeah, yeah. And so I did the, the wax work. So you take a artist piece of one of their pieces, and we did like large scales, things like 10 feet or more. And yes, so you, yes. So huge pieces. And you would we would make plaster molds, and then from the mold, then you make a wax positive, and then then you make another mold of that. So it’s a very labor intensive process. And the founder that I had worked at, I got laid off, and I was really bummed. I was not sure I was ever find another job that I loved as much as as working in the foundry. But my landlord at the time, was an occupational therapist, and she said, and I actually had never heard of occupational therapy before this time. So she was like, you would be great at occupational therapy because people love you. You are creative. And you know, people just you just give off a vibe that people trust you and she goes, I think you would really enjoy this. And so, I looked into it and when I saw like the medical side But I was like, I don’t know if I really want to help people after they’ve, like had an accident or a stroke or something. And then I looked a little bit further into it and saw the different aspects of working with children. And when I found out about being school based, which I am, I work in schools and I work in our pediatric clinic. So I split my time working with children in like, charter schools. And then I also work right now at our non public school Westmoreland and those children have primarily are autistic. And I help them with like handwriting, and being able to regulate their emotions while they’re at school, and just being able to follow like two and three step tasks. So and, and in part of that, you do a lot of cutting and pasting, which one of the thing I love to do most is is cutting and pasting I, I love crafts. So once I found out that I could do crafts all day, I was like, I am sold, I am on this.

Jamie:  21:18 

So I went to school, and then I found out you know, it’s not all just cutting and pasting. But there’s a lot of that, which is awesome. And then now I also work in our pediatric clinic, one of our pediatric clinics in Lynwood. And I work primarily with children under three. And so that’s more of you know, being able to help children learn how to hold a spoon to feed themselves, or to their is, because they’re young, there’s not so much cutting and pasting, there’s more drawing, but it was just the, the whole idea of occupational therapy just really fit in with a lot of my interest as as a as an artist, and then that the need to help people. That was the one thing when I left Disney was that I felt like I was missing is like helping people. Just like that was one of my favorite things to do when I was there was to make somebody’s day. So now. So now I you know, I get to make somebody’s life basically, you know, so all these little times that I interact with them just build up to helping them promote their lives and help them have a better life. So, so that’s, that’s how I got into occupational therapy and why I love it so much. And I wished I had found it sooner. But you know, better late than never. And I’m so glad. That’s very

Veata:  22:44 


Linda:  22:45 

Stages. Right, right. You ever keep in contact with some of the kids that you have hoped?

Jamie:  22:55 

I have kept in contact with some of the adults that I have. I have helped Josh like, you know, I mean, obviously as a job coach. Yeah. So I, you know, I do keep in contact with some of some of my old clients. Not really the children so much, but I’m hoping that, you know, that I’ll hear from some of them. And, you know, if I, depending on what schools I’m working at, if I’m back at the same school, then you know, I’ll be able to see them as they’re getting older and thriving.

Veata:  23:39 

That’s amazing. Wow. Are there any other questions for Jamie, Linda?

Linda:  23:47 

No, I think you’ve covered them all. I mean, it was been a very great interview. Thank you. And Jamie, is there anything else that you would like our audience to know?

Jamie:  24:00 

Hmm. I think just, you know, to continue to, to listen to the podcast, and we’re always open to suggestions for different people to interview if there’s, if I’m hoping this year that we’ll be able to interview some people maybe with some mental health issues is as well as other just other issues that may come up, but I’m really hoping that that some of my our guests will return possibly to I know there’s a few that I would really like to talk to again, so but I would also like to, to learn some new experiences and I was going to suggest doing follow up interviews on a couple of the people you know,

Linda:  25:00 

just to see how they’re progressing, what is changed?

Jamie:  25:05 

Yeah, I think that would be great. Yeah, I think you know, I’m pretty adaptable. And, you know, like I said, I love to hear people’s stories. And so I’m just hope to continue to be able to share more experiences with people in general. And hopefully we’ll all learn even more this year.

Veata:  25:29 

Sounds great. Well, thank you, Jamie, Lord-Tovar for letting us interview you and turning the tables around. And thank you everybody for joining us for another episode of I am able. Remember to subscribe to I am able on any of your podcast platforms. Thank you. Thanks, everybody.


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