An occupational therapist helps people regain control of their lives. Sometimes they bring people back into the world of work after an accident that involves brain damage, and sometimes they work with adults and children with learning difficulties – the spectrum is enormous. I am going to tell you five facts about this caring career that could well “blow your socks off.”
1. Occupational Therapy Month.
Did you know this great career has its very own month? Yes! April is dedicated to finding out more about occupational therapy. There is a conference held every year, in fact this year is number 94. It’s held April 3rd – 6th in Baltimore, Maryland. Nearly a century of listening, learning, and discovery.
2. Backpack Awareness Day.
September 14, 2014, is dedicated to the student that has to carry that heavy load on their backs every day at school. Backpack day aims to bring attention to all the back problems that occur because of the heavy books, sports shoes, and school lap tops, that get stuffed in the pack and slung on to the poor old back.
I have a particular affinity here as my daughter experienced a lot of back pain while at school. Her backpack was so heavy that she couldn’t walk straight. Hurray for Backpack Awareness Day.
3. Occupational Therapy In The Military.
This is not very well advertised. We know there are great medical staff in the military, but occupational therapy is not a career that is discussed often. However, the military are desperate for qualified occupational therapists. Duties are diverse – from looking after someone with a sore arm to getting a wounded pilot back on his feet. Not only will you be a qualified therapist when you take the job, you will also train to become a commissioned officer.
In addition to caring physically for the active armed forces, there is often a lot of mental anguish and psychological pain that needs addressing, and psychological care is needed. Therapists can help re-establish confidence and mental ability.
4. Hand Therapists.
Hand therapy is rehabilitation for conditions affecting the hands and upper extremities. A person who has arthritis, hand damage from a bad accident, scars, fractures, burns, or loss of fingers, is a candidate for this therapy.
The little known fact is that 85% of Hand Therapists are qualified occupational therapists.
5. Occupational Therapy and Institutions.
One of the last big institutions in the UK for people with learning challenges was Stoke Park Hospital. In here, occupational therapy was vital. People from all walks of life, with all kinds of challenges, some that disabled them so badly they could never leave, were helped by these therapists. There are no longer any institutions of this kind in England, and so those therapists that worked in them found jobs in other areas. I worked in this institution as an assistant, and saw the great work they did first hand.
American Occupational Therapy Association
Some personal experience.