In its simplest terms, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapy assistants work closely with and under the supervision of occupational therapists.
Common occupational therapy interventions include the following:
- Helping children with developmental disabilities engage in play and succeed in school.
- Helping adults recovering from physical injury regain skills for returning to life roles at home, at work, and in the community.
- Helping older adults living with chronic disease modify environments and simplify tasks to maintain independence and social engagement.
- Helping those experiencing mental health challenges develop skills, habits, and routines to promote optimal functioning and achieve personal goals.
Occupational therapy assistants work in a variety of practice settings including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, homes, schools, communities, worksites, independent agencies and private practices. Common personal characteristics of successful occupational therapy assistants include being caring and patient, being analytical and creative, and being collaborative and adaptable.
Employment opportunities for occupational therapy assistants are expected to continue to grow, due in part to the growing population, the aging population, and the changing models of healthcare delivery in the U.S.
For more information about this career, as well as the current employment outlook, visit the links below.