Career as an Occupational Therapist
An Occupational Therapist is someone who treats patients with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. They help these patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Patients with permanent disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, often need help performing daily tasks. Occupational therapists show patients how to use appropriate adaptive equipment, such as leg or knee braces, wheelchairs, and eating aids. Patients can function independently and control their living environment by using these devices. Some Occupational Therapists work in educational settings with children one on one or in small groups. They evaluate disabled children’s abilities, modify classroom equipment to accommodate certain disabilities, and help children participate in school activities. Some therapists provide early intervention therapy to infants and toddlers who have, or are at risk of having, developmental delays. Occupational Therapists who work with the elderly help their patients lead more independent and active lives. They asses the patient’s abilities and environment and make recommendations, such as using adaptive equipment or identifying and removing potential fall hazards in the home. In some cases, occupational therapists help patients create functional work environments. They evaluate the work space, plan work activities, and meet with the patient’s employer to collaborate on changes to the patient’s work environment or schedule. The duties of Occupational Therapist includes to observe patients doing tasks, ask the patient questions, and review the patient's medical history and to use the observations, answers, and medical history to evaluate the patient's condition and needs. They also establish a treatment plan for patients, laying out the types of activities and specific goals to be accomplished and help people with various disabilities with different tasks, such as helping an older person with poor memory use a computer, or leading an autistic child in play activities. They need to demonstrate exercises that can help relieve pain for people with chronic conditions, such as joint stretches for arthritis sufferers. They also recommend special equipment, such as wheelchairs and eating aids, and instruct patients how to use equipment. They also assess and record patients’ activities and progress for evaluating clients, for billing, and for reporting to physicians and other healthcare providers.