April is National Occupational Therapy Month
Jun 4, 2019
April is the 38th annual Occupational Therapy Month, a time when we get a chance to recognize the efforts of those who are in the occupational therapy field whether you're an occupational therapist or an occupational therapist assistant.
Occupational Therapy Month started in 1980 and corresponds with AOTA's (The American Occupational Therapy Association) Annual Conference & Expo. The 2018 theme is Empowering Independence. This year's conference will be held April 19th-22nd in Salt Lake City, Utah.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a vital profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational Therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent- or live better with- injury, illness, or disability.
Common Occupational Therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from an injury to regain skills, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Occupational Therapy services typically include:
- an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person's goals,
- customized intervention to improve the person's ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
- an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.
Exciting Opportunities for Occupational Therapy
In 2017, Occupational Therapy celebrated 100 years as a profession. After 100 years, the new century has brought some great new opportunities to the profession. During the 100th celebration, some of the 100 most influential people in OT talked about OT's biggest opportunities.
"I think this has to be one of the most exciting times for occupational therapy," says Janice Burke, co-founder of the Model of Human Occupation. "The big picture today is on health and wellness, and that is what occupational therapy has always been about. For OT, the opportunities are boundless. We can fit everywhere and anywhere- traditional health settings, community, and individual-based [practice]."
Mary Beth Early sees an array of opportunities for occupational therapy: ergonomics; body mechanics; and habit development regarding technology, screen time, positioning, posture, and social behavior. She also sees providing intervention for emotional regulation and behavioral health for victims of trauma, persons with mental disorders, and persons in recovery as an area of opportunity for occupational therapy.
"This is an opportunity for us (with more practitioners, educators, and researchers) to share our story, our science, and our discipline," says Thom Fisher. "Being bold and intentional can allow the public to understand what OTs and OTAs bring to the table with client care."
Charles Christiansen was drawn to occupational therapy by "its optimistic view of human possibility and its traditions as a client-centered, authentic, and activity-related" profession.
"In this new age fueled by abundant information and rapidly evolving digital technologies, it is likely that new medical and rehabilitation technologies will change the nature of the health problems that health practitioners face," says Christiansen. "We can expect that novel technologies will either prevent or remedy chronic conditions or reduce the consequences of disabilities (consider mobility exoskeletons, sensory-neural implants, self-driving cars, and personal assistant robotics). These 'game-changing' advances will change the current nature of occupational therapy practice dramatically."
Starting Your OTA Career
If the idea of helping others live their daily lives to the fullest is intriguing to you, a career in OT might be in your future. At Concorde Career College, we offer an Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program that can be done in as few as 20 months. To learn more about our OTA or other health care programs, contact our Admissions office today! While you're at it, be sure to show your support for OT by using #OTMonth2018.