With a surge of young children and older individuals, the need for occupational therapy continues to grow. The field of occupational therapy (OT) is one of the fastest growing fields.(1) This is in part to the population living longer as well as an increase in repetitive injuries, early detection of disabilities or loss of daily activity needs in our children. Some interesting information on occupational therapy includes the following:
Growing Field– There are over one hundred thousand OT’s and COTA (Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants) licensed in the United States. “Florida alone has over 6,000 licensed occupational therapy practitioners.”(1)
Types of settings: they work in all types of settings such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and more. Early detection for the needs of physical therapy has paved the way for them to work in direct conjunction with schools. Some children received their therapy during school hours. This type of therapy can involve their need to function at a higher level in school activities.
Types of skills being taught – The need for therapy can involve learning new techniques in bending, lifting, rotating limbs, relearning activities lost due to an accident or natural progression of illness and many more. They are there to teach any individual who is not functioning at a prior level or an appropriate level to enhance their quality of living, or to restore it to a previous level.
Work with individuals with mental health issues : Some of these issues involve mental retardation, mood disorders and Schizophrenia. Occupational Therapy in the community can be described as a “..long-term process, with the ultimate goal being full participation in community activities. These activities may include obtaining and maintaining employment, going to school, and living independently.”(2) These services are vital to individuals seeking to remain within and become a part of the community.
Can provide therapy in a school setting: Some children received their therapy during school hours. This type of therapy can involve their need to function at a higher level in school activities. These services can be obtained in a mainstream school or schools for mentally and physically disabled individuals. There are no limits as to where a child can improve their skills.
Understanding the OT field can be a daunting task, but the most important aspect to remember is that it is clearly and solely designed to bring a person back to a former level of functioning or to bring someone up to that level.
- 1- http://www.promoteot.org/pg_factsheet.html
- 2- http://www.aota.org