What does an Occupational Therapist do?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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The occupational therapist is concerned with helping clients to discover and achieve a balance between work, leisure, and self care that results in a satisfying level of independence and competency in all three areas of life. When examining the various components of a client’s lifestyle, each of the components if usually referred to as an occupation. The occupational therapist will conduct what is commonly referred to as an intervention in an effort to assist the client in making changes and developing qualities that will improve the condition of each occupation.

Occupational therapists also seek to identify potential habits within each occupation that could result in compromising the health of the individual, or have a real potential of leading to injury or possibly a permanent disability. While all areas of life include some degree of risk, the role of the OT is to help the client see those risks clearly, and move toward behavior patterns that help to minimize the risk.

Individuals with various issues can be helped by occupational therapy. A competent therapist can assist a client by recommending exercises that are designed to increase motor function, overcome attention deficit issues, and develop an increased capacity for assimilating and retaining information. The therapy is also often employed to help persons develop interpersonal skills that can greatly improve the ability of the client to function in social situations, as well as work in harmony with coworkers.


The occupational therapist may work in a number of settings. Hospitals often employ an occupational therapist to assist persons who must learn to cope with a change in health or a loss of an ability, such as sight or hearing. Nursing homes and home health care also make use of this profession, often as a means of helping people adjust to changes in an occupation within the comfort of the client’s living space. Some schools and corporations also employ occupational therapists, providing support and access to essential life skills to students and employees. In all instances, the goal of the occupational therapist is to assist persons in getting the most out of life, equipping people with important skills and mindsets that make it possible to enhance the experience of living.


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Post 3

BrickBack- I have heard of that program. I just wanted to say that the occupational therapist career is a rewarding one in which you get to help people overcome their obstacles to independence.

The occupational therapist education does require an occupational therapist Masters degree for the position unless you are seeking an occupational therapist assistant job.

The occupational therapist assistant only requires an Associate’s degree. However, the occupational therapist salaries average about $68,000 and the job prospects for this field are vast.

It is important to seek occupational therapist schools that are accredited. If you need more information on accredited schools in this field you should go to the American Occupational Therapy Association site.

They have a wealth of information on the industry along with information on continuing education courses in the industry. The occupational therapist training is long, but this rewarding career offers excellent salary potential as well as job prospects.

Post 2

Cafe41-Sometimes these occupational therapists work with the children’s fine motor skills. Children with illegible handwriting might be sent to an occupational therapist in order to strengthen the hand muscles enough to be able to form letters correctly.

A great program created by an occupational therapist that is used in private schools and home schools is the “Handwriting Without Tears.” This program offer step by step instruction on letter formation and offers manipulatives and engaging songs to help children with their penmanship.

The program is so popular that they offer seminars for teachers across the country. I have used this program for my own children and it is engaging and fun and the children loved performing the lessons. It was something that they looked forward to daily.

Post 1

Occupational therapist positions require a Masters degree in occupational therapy along with successful completion of the certification exam.

A certified occupational therapist usually works in a hospital or clinical setting and offer patients a course of therapeutic exercises that allow them to gain more independence.

An occupational therapist job might entail that they provide retraining for an elderly patient that just had a hip replacement. They may have then practice getting in and out of a car, or they may take them to the mall and have them walk a bit so that they can feel comfortable in their condition.

They may also teach the patient how to cook their own meals and have them practice those techniques in therapy.

Some occupational therapist positions work solely with children. Pediatric occupational therapy serves the same function that a general occupational therapist serves-they restore the children’s ability to perform the same functions before their accident or ailment occurred.

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