Occupational Therapy FAQ

Occupational Therapy FAQ


Hi I’m Ashleigh, an Occupational Therapist
here at Therapy Playground. And I’m Kim, I’m also an Occupational Therapist at Therapy
Playground. Today we’re going to discuss some of the commonly
asked questions we get as Occupational Therapist. The first one, “What is occupational therapy?”. Occupational Therapy is a form of therapy
that works with people to help improve their functional independence on activities of daily
living. That’s the “textbook definition”. We help people to get better to do the things
they have to do every day. How about OT vs PT? That’s a great question, especially working
in the pediatric environment like we do, there can be a lot of overlap and similarities between
occupational therapy and physical therapy. But in general, OT vs PT, occupational therapy
is going to work on again, those functional independent skills, helping people become
better at feeding themselves, dressing themselves, navigating what they have to do during the
day, as functional independent individuals. Whether they have a hard time after an injury,
recovering from that injury or that surgery, or as children developing these skills that
there seems to be some obstacles. Physical therapy is more working on the physical mobility
of those things, navigating the persons environment, getting to and from where they need to go,
while they’re doing what they need to do. One of the questions I get most often is “Why
does my child need OT if they don’t have a job?” People might laugh at that question, but it’s
really not a bad question, and if you’re not familiar with what OT is, it makes sense,
people hear “occupational therapy” and they think occupation, they think job. Think of
occupation in terms of your job of living. OT helps you to be the best that you can at
your job of living no matter what you have to do during that life. What ages and diagnosis do occupational therapist
work with? Occupational therapist work from newborns
up until people at the end of their life. We can work with newborns in the NICU after
they’re born with feeding difficulties or we can work with toddlers and preschoolers
learning to develop new skills, work with school-aged children, children who have developmental
challenges, children who are recovering from a broken arm, injury, or surgery. We work
with adults recovering from injuries or surgeries, and in the geriatric population again recovering
from injury or illness. So really yes, OTs work with newborns all the way to end of life. Do OTs work with just handwriting? Absolutely not. Handwriting is a primary component
of what pediatric occupational therapy do, because pediatric OTs tend to focus on functional
hand skills and as a child, particularly a preschooler or school-aged child, OTs need
to help most children how to write. It’s just a huge component of what they do every day
at home and the classroom. But OTs can work on feeding, learning to help the children
learn how to feed themselves, helping them learn how to dress themselves, helping them
to learn how to improve visual motor skills, just basic play skills, manipulating tools
and objects in their environment. This is a question you’re going to ask later I think,
but sensory concerns as well. So there’s really a whole bunch more than just handwriting that
OTs do. Now I know speech works with kiddos to address
feeding but how exactly does OT address feeding? OTs can address feeding from kind of two different
angles, most common one is going to be getting the food from the table to the mouth. Helping
children learn how to properly hold and manipulate utinsels, but there are some therapist who
are trained in oral motor techniques that can help with the manipulation of the food
to assist with swallowing. The big difference is going to be speech therapist are really going to do the swallowing and the oral part of it, but some OTs can overlap into that quite a
bit if they’ve been trained to do oral motor techniques as well. One big question, “How do I know if my kid
has sensory issues?”. Sensory issues is a very general thing, that
can take a long time to talk about that, and that itself would be a great topic for a podcast
in the future. But basically in general terms, sensory issues means that a person, and not
just a child, but a person is having a difficult time taking in, and processing and working
with the stimulation they get from the environment. All the things that you see, you hear, you
touch, you feel, are sensory. And if a person or a child is having a hard time dealing with
those forms of input, it might look like they are having some behavioral challenges, it
might look like they are avoiding the situation, or seeking out certain types of input that
are maybe inappropriate or unsafe. An OT can ask you some questions, a screening tool,
a questionnaire to fill out, and kind of work with you to determine if the concerns you
have for your child are related to sensory processing difficulties. Along those same lines,
“Do you think my child has autism?”. OTs work a lot with children on the autism
spectrum, and so “is my child autistic?” is a question that we do get often. It’s important
to remember that as an occupational therapist, we cannot diagnose with anything, especially
a diagnosis of autism. But what we can help you with is to determine if your child is
showing signs or characteristics that are commonly seen in children that have autism
spectrum disorders. Remember that just because your child may show some sensory things, doesn’t
mean necessarily that they have autism. But we can help you work through some of those questions,
those concerns, and lead you to the right professionals that can do diagnostic
testing and confirm or deny the diagnosis of autism. Well great, thank you for answering all these
questions for us! No problem. Thank you and having a great day!

37 Replies to “Occupational Therapy FAQ”

  1. At first, I thought occupational therapy helped people with job/career skills because I saw the word "occupation". I was 6 or 7 at the time I thought that.

  2. This is a great discussion onf FAQ's about occupational therapy. Clears out a few things about it. Great job guys!

  3. I have been a nurse assistant for 8yrs at a hospital..i enjoy helping my patients but im getting burn out and I have been wanting to finish school. I realized at the hospital nurses r doing so much and they get stress out. I wouldnt want to be nurse like that. I just talked to an ot and that sound like something fun and that i can do.i also enjoy having a conversation with my patients taking the time to be with them. And im all about the more you do things on ur own the better..but it just seems like ot degree will take me longer..and the rn degree .it is hard to make a decision ..i have my 3yrs son now and.really need to finish a degree to star my career..any sugguestion?thanx ladies

  4. I am trying to decide between OTA and RN. I read about OTA and toilieting and I am not sure exactly what that is or how much is involved. Could you help me with that?

  5. Hi thank you so much for this video. I am planning on applying to the Ota (ocupatinal therapy assistant) program next year. Do the assistants get to do a lot of the treatment with the patients too? Or is mostly toileting and lifting people out of wheel chairs?

  6. I currently work with MHMR clients for the state of TX at a state supportive living center. I'm interested in furthering into OT/ PT are careers but I have some questions. If you can possibly answer Id be very appreciative. In my current field tattoos are not an issue on any part of the body I have some in places such as my hands that are a little harder to cover but not impossible but I prefer to not have to cover them. Would this be an issue in this field of work??

  7. considering a career as an OT but I'm beyond confused how to start (currently in high school).I plan on going to community college first. what do you recommend doing from there?

  8. I have a question. If I go for my OTA associates and later on I want to go for OT masters do I have to start all over again? How long does it take to become an OT?

  9. Is pediatric occupational therapy a different program than occupational therapy or is it just something in the job of your choice?

  10. Would you recommend a pre-OT major and i would go and get my graduate degree in OT or would you recommend majoring in something else?

  11. Not every applicant is guaranteed to be accepted into the master program ,so what would be the best contingency or backup plans in case you don't get enrolled into the program especially with an undergraduate degree(psychology,kinesiology,biology etc)that most likely won't help you land a job?

  12. I am currently in college and am a Kinesiology PEK, Which means that I am studying to become a physical education teacher. I want to keep studying after graduating and I am looking at a career in becoming an OT. Can I pursue this with my bachelor's that I am studying for?

  13. If ai want for example teach people how to read braille or sing language, how to use a can if they are blind. Is ot for me? Or what do i study?

  14. Hello, this video was very helpful! I’m a junior in high school and I’m very interested in OT.🧡 When applying to an MOT program… Do you have to have a certain amount of hours shadowing. If so, should I start volunteering/ shadowing?

  15. Hi. I am a PTA and looking into being an OT. In your opinion is it a little less complex being an OT rather than a PT? THanks

  16. I am currently in undergrad and I am interested in becoming an OT. I have done OT in elementary school and high school. I have sensory processing disorder and I am worried that I won't be able to be an OT because of that. Do you have any advice?

  17. Hi, I am planning on to be OTA but the thing is I am very short. I am only 4"10" and about 94lb, I been like this forever. I heard OTA needs to do lost of lifting. Will I be able to manage? Ik OTA works hand on hand with patients but I am very shy too! Would you see me success in this field or I need to start thinking about others career?

  18. I have a BA in art and thinking about getting master in OT. I want to work with children and hopefully use my art knowledge. Can you apply art and craft to occupational therapy or is it a job for recreational therapists?

  19. Hi , I Have Master's in Occupational Therapy from INDIA (Recognized
    Government College),I am a registered AIOTA (All India Occupational
    Therapists' Association) , I have an experience of 5 Years in the
    profession. Can you please guide how to proceed to find a Job in Canada ?

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