There seems to be some confusion among the general population about what exactly occupational therapy entails. For starters, the name is a little misleading. When occupational therapy first began after the Second World War, its focus was on rehabilitating injured soldiers so that they could return to the workforce. Today, though, the term "occupation" is used more broadly in the OT field-- it refers to the many everyday activity that people find meaningful and use to occupy their time.
This profession is diverse with different areas of specialty. As more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits it has to offer, the demand for services will only increase.
Let's consider the reasons why the field of occupational therapy is thriving:
- They work in a variety of settings. Unlike many occupations, occupational therapists can be found in several different settings including: hospitals, schools, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, private practices, outpatient clinics, and more. It is a very versatile career.
- They work with all age groups. Many people think that this type of therapy is only for adults-- most likely because children lack "occupations". However, it can benefit all age groups. Pediatric occupational therapy helps children with a variety of needs improve their cognitive, sensory, physical, and motor skills. Occupational therapists provide services to all generations.
- They can specialize in different areas. Some occupational therapists may work with geriatric clients, helping them to overcome physical challenges while promoting independence and self-reliance. Other therapists may choose to specialize in hand therapy, pediatrics, acute care, neurological rehabilitation, and more.
- Their sessions are customized and fun! The OT process begins with an evaluation which ultimately leads to a customized intervention plan. For example, if a patient who suffered a stroke was unable to perform an occupation she previously enjoyed, such as cooking, a therapy session might take place in her kitchen. The therapist would work with the patient on completing tasks that might be required for preparing a meal. OT sessions often include activities and games that engage the client and leave them looking forward to their next session.
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