What is Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that focuses on helping individuals achieve their goals and perform everyday activities despite physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and backgrounds to improve their ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing, cooking, driving, and working. They use a holistic approach that considers the person’s physical, emotional, and environmental factors to create individualized treatment plans. Occupational therapy may involve exercises and activities to improve strength and coordination, adaptations to the environment or tasks to make them easier to perform, and training in the use of assistive devices or equipment. Overall, the goal of occupational therapy is to promote independence, improve quality of life, and help individuals participate in meaningful activities

Training/ Education

To become an occupational therapist, you typically need to complete a graduate-level education program in occupational therapy, which is usually a Master’s or bachelors degree. These programs typically take 2-3 years to complete and include coursework in anatomy, physiology, psychology, occupational therapy theory and practice, and clinical experience through supervised fieldwork.

After completing an accredited occupational therapy program, graduates must pass the national certification examination administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra). Previously, each state in the Australia had its own licensing requirements, which typically include passing a state licensure exam, however, this has since been rolled out to only require AHPRA certification which is nationally recognised.

Continuing education is also required to maintain licensure and stay up-to-date on the latest research and advances in the field. Overall, becoming an occupational therapist requires a significant amount of education, training, and ongoing professional development.

Where Occupational therapist can work

Occupational therapists in Australia can work in a variety of industries, including:

Health Care: Occupational therapists can work in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and private practices.

Education: Occupational therapists can work in schools, universities, and vocational training centers, providing support to students with disabilities or special needs.

Workplace Health and Safety: Occupational therapists can work in organizations or companies to promote safety, prevent injuries, and assist with return to work programs.

Aged Care: Occupational therapists can work in nursing homes, aged care facilities, and community centers, providing support and therapy for elderly individuals.

Mental Health: Occupational therapists can work in mental health clinics, hospitals, or private practices, helping individuals with mental health conditions to develop coping skills and manage their symptoms.

Disability Services: Occupational therapists can work in disability support services, providing support and therapy to individuals with disabilities to help them achieve their goals and increase their independence.

Overall, occupational therapists in Australia have a wide range of employment opportunities across many industries.

Role of Occupational therapist in Disability

Occupational therapists in disability services work with individuals with disabilities to promote independence and improve their ability to perform daily activities. This may include:

  1. Assessment: Occupational therapists assess the individual’s strengths, limitations, and needs related to daily activities, such as self-care, work, and leisure.
  2. Goal Setting: Occupational therapists work with the individual to set goals related to daily activities, and develop a plan to achieve those goals.
  3. Treatment Planning: Based on the assessment and goal setting, occupational therapists develop an individualized treatment plan that may involve exercises, activities, and modifications to the environment or tasks to promote independence.
  4. Training and Education: Occupational therapists provide training and education to the individual and their family or caregivers on how to use assistive devices or equipment, and how to perform daily activities safely and effectively.
  5. Follow-up: Occupational therapists regularly monitor progress, make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed, and provide ongoing support to help the individual achieve their goals.

Overall, occupational therapists in disability services work to empower individuals with disabilities to live more independently, participate in their communities, and achieve their full potential.

Middle-aged patient at occupational therapy in medical center