Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists (OTs) help people of all ages to improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. Occupational therapists help clients not only to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function. Occupational therapists assist clients in performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking, and eating. Occupational therapists also use computer programs to help clients improve decision making, abstract-reasoning, problem-solving, and perceptual skills, as well as memory, sequencing, and coordination all of which are important for independent living. Occupational therapists may work exclusively with individuals in a particular age group or with particular disabilities.

Occupational therapists also work with the client to assess the home for hazards and to identify environmental factors that contribute to falls. Occupational therapists in mental health settings treat individuals who are mentally ill, mentally retarded, or emotionally disturbed. Occupational therapists also may work with individuals who are dealing with alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, eating disorders, or stress-related disorders. Occupational therapists are increasingly taking on supervisory roles, allowing assistants and aides to work more closely with clients under the guidance of a therapist. Occupational therapists help patients improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. Occupational therapists use treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of their patients.

Occupational therapists help clients to perform all types of activities, from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking, and eating. Occupational therapists may work exclusively with individuals in a particular age group or with a particular disability. Occupational therapists also work with clients to assess their homes for hazards and to identify environmental factors that contribute to falls. Occupational therapists in mental health settings treat individuals who are mentally ill, developmentally challenged, or emotionally disturbed. Occupational therapists also work with individuals who are dealing with alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, eating disorders, or stress-related disorders.

Occupational therapists in hospitals and other health care and community settings usually work a 40-hour week. Occupational therapists need patience and strong interpersonal skills to inspire trust and respect in their clients. Occupational therapists are expected to continue their professional development by participating in continuing education courses and workshops. Occupational therapists can choose to advance their careers by taking on administrative duties and supervising assistants and aides. Occupational therapists also can advance by specializing in a clinical area and gaining expertise in treating a certain type of patient or ailment. Occupational therapists with specialized knowledge in a treatment area also will have increased job prospects. Occupational therapists use specialized knowledge to help individuals perform daily living skills and achieve maximum independence.

Occupational Therapist always consults your medical specialist when determining which course of treatment is best for you or your loved ones. Occupational therapist assistants generally must complete an associate degree or a certificate program; in contrast, occupational therapist aides usually receive most of their training on the job. Occupational therapist assistants and aides work under the direction of occupational therapists to provide rehabilitative services to persons with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental impairments. Occupational therapist assistants, commonly known as occupational therapy assistants, help clients with rehabilitative activities and exercises outlined in a treatment plan developed in collaboration with an occupational therapist. Occupational therapist aides typically prepare materials and assemble equipment used during treatment. Occupational therapist assistants and aides need to have a moderate degree of strength because of the physical exertion required to assist patients.

Occupational therapist aides usually receive most of their training on the job. Occupational therapist assistants may advance into administration positions. Occupational therapists are expected to increasingly utilize assistants and aides to reduce the cost of occupational therapy services. Occupational therapist assistants and aides with prior experience working in an occupational therapy office or other health care setting will have the best job opportunities. Occupational therapist assistants and aides work under the supervision and direction of occupational therapists. Occupational therapists work in hospital and various community settings (see below). Occupational therapists work with young children, adolescents, adults and older people. Occupational therapist consultants can combine these two roles in this very senior role.