Exploring Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy is used to treat a number of ailments. Occupational therapists are trained in the skills and techniques necessary to help patients recover from injuries, prevent or delay disabling conditions, relearn motor planning, and/or adapt to physical changes caused by disease or aging.
Occupational therapists help improve a patient’s ability to cope with his or her environment by helping the patient develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. Occupational therapists may be treating a patient with:
· Helping the patient develop new hobbies or interests
· Treating children who are receiving physical therapy to improve their ability to play sports
· Rehabilitating stroke patients so that they can resume activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, cooking, shopping, gardening, and going to the bank
· Helping patients learn methods of coping with stress or adjusting to change in their lives through occupational therapy
To become an occupational therapist, a person must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and then complete a master’s degree at an accredited graduate school. These programs are generally very competitive and require the applicant to have excellent academic grades in science courses, especially biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, and physiology.
A bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy is essentially a pre-professional program that involves course work in all of the courses listed above, plus field experiences so a student can determine if the career is right for them. The graduate program involves focused study in occupational therapy theory and techniques of helping patients in their daily living skills.
The American Occupational Therapy Association offers a certification that must be earned by passing an exam after being licensed as an occupational therapist. A license to practice must also be obtained from the state board for occupational therapy before an occupational therapist can begin working in a clinical setting.