Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Overview


Occupational therapy assistants are a key part
of the diverse area of occupational therapy, a field centered on helping people perform their
“occupations,” or daily activities. As an occupational therapy assistant, or OTA, you would work with occupational therapists to
design and provide interventions for your clients. People are at the heart of occupational therapy. The profession helps individuals who need extra
support in order to fully participate in life. This includes a wide range of people, from
young to middle-aged to elderly, with a variety of conditions, from one-time work-related injuries, to ongoing mental health challenges, to the deteriorating effects of aging. By guiding patients through specially designed
activities, OTAs help clients develop, maintain, or regain
their health and ability to function, adapting activities and working to improve the
underlying cause of their impairment. As an OTA, you could work in a variety of
settings. Many OTAs work in skilled nursing facilities, but
there are also opportunities in hospitals, rehab facilities, outpatient clinics, schools, work-sites, home-health, and community-based settings. Occupational therapy is based around people,
so the locations are as varied as your clientele. This is a very active career. You need to be prepared for physical work, like
standing, walking, bending, or lifting. You should also have good motor control. You’ll be using tools and controls with your hands and need to be able to demonstrate these
techniques to your clients. There are certain key skills you must possess if
you want to be a good OTA. The field requires a strong grasp of physical
science concepts, especially anatomy and physiology, and behavioral science concepts, such as
psychology and sociology. Equally important is the emphasis on creativity in designing and modifying activities for your clients. It is this unique combination of talents that
raises an OTA from good to exceptional. In addition, you must be perceptive and detail-
oriented, constantly aware of your clients’ actions and
feelings. You’ll need to have the people skills to
communicate politely and professionally with a wide variety of clients of any age,
diversity, or condition. Each patient is unique, so you will constantly be thinking on your feet to modify tasks for individual clients. You should have the communication skills to
listen, to be persuasive, and to write up reports. And, above all, you must be oriented toward
serving others. If you feel that being an occupational therapy
assistant is a good fit for you, follow the links at the side to continue the
orientation.

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