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THE PROFESSION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

Occupation may be defined as the ordinary things we do each day to work, to play, and to take care of ourselves. Occupational therapy is based on the idea that our personal identity and feeling of value is closely tied to what we are able to do. Each of us chooses many "occupational" roles that are important to us and make us excited to engage in life. We may, for example, choose occupational roles of "parent", "homemaker", "student", "athlete", etc., with many tasks in each that are important for us to carry out independently. When our function becomes impaired in these roles, we may lose both our independence and our sense of self-worth. Occupational Therapy is the art and science of helping people achieve independence with, and through, the use of everyday activities. It focuses on those aspects that give quality and purpose to performance.  

 

The practice of occupational therapy utilizes the therapeutic use of purposeful and meaningful occupations in treatment, as well as focusing on these occupations as the goal of treatment. OT intervention may include: restoration of performance abilities; instruction in compensatory techniques; adaptation of tasks, processes, or environments; disability prevention techniques; design, fabrication and use of Assistive technology and/or orthotic devices; and health and wellness promotion strategies. Occupational therapy assistants, under the supervision of an occupational therapist, will work directly with persons to achieve a maximum level of independent living by developing the capacities that remain after disease, accident, or other disability. 

 

The occupational therapy practitioner works with people who are limited by physical injury or illness, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning disabilities, poverty and cultural differences, or the aging process in order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health. The profession tailors rehabilitation individually for each client . Through evaluation and treatment, it seeks to restore or improve function in occupational performance. Treatment is provided within the context of the client's life environments and relationships and is guided by the concerns of the patient. Functional performance is considered within the areas of work, self-care, and leisure; with treatment developed to minimize the effects of disability and maximize existing ability.  

 

The occupational therapy assistant is an integral part of the rehabilitation team focused on providing optimum patient care. Occupational therapy assistants, supervised by occupational therapists, possess the technical skills to provide services to individuals of all ages who have physical, psychological, or developmental disabilities; which may include but are not limited to those suffering from strokes, heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes, serious burns, spinal cord injuries, and psychiatric disorders. Occupational therapy serves a diverse population in a variety of settings such as hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation facilities, long-term care facilities, extended care facilities, sheltered workshops, schools and camps, private homes, and community agencies.