April is Occupational Therapy month, and there are many myths about this profession that exist online. Occupational therapy, abbreviated as OT, offers rehabilitation to individuals suffering from physical or mental disabilities by using everyday activities. The goal is to help restore people’s independence and offer them a way to handle their disabilities.
Myth 1: Occupational Therapy is Identical to Physical Therapy
One of the most common myths about occupational therapy is that it is identical to physical therapy. This is not true because OT’s focus is on everyday activities and increasing a person’s ability to do them. On the other hand, physical therapy is more concerned with improving agility and mobility.
Myth 2: Occupational Therapists Only Work with Adults
Although adults are a large part of their patient lists, occupational therapists are not limited to working with them. They are capable of helping children, teenagers and the elderly improve their daily lives through specific evaluations and tools. They are also able to help disabled people in all age groups achieve greater independence.
Myth 3: Occupational Therapists Can Only Work in Hospitals
Occupational therapists are not limited to working in hospitals, but many choose this setting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This gives the false impression that they are only allowed to be in hospitals. However, they are also able to work in private clinics, offices, schools, nursing homes and home health services.
Myth 4: Occupational Therapy is Painful
Occupational therapy focuses on improving a person’s life, and unlike physical therapy it is not trying to increase mobility by stretching muscles or doing painful exercises. Occupational therapists will work with an individual to make everyday tasks easier by adding tools, rethinking processes and changing environments. They are interested in increasing a person’s skills to make life better on a daily basis.
Myth 5: Occupational Therapy has a Poor Job Outlook
Occupational therapy does not have a poor job outlook, and it is actually ranked as number nine on the list of best health care jobs in the United States. As the population continues to age, this job is expected to grow and be in demand across the country. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the profession will grow by 33 percent by 2020 while accredited programs to help people enter this job will also increase steadily over the years.