(Published in the Galion Inquirer, Galion, Ohio, on March 8, 2019).
When others approach me and ask for a life update, I tell them, I’m in graduate school for Occupational Therapy (OT).
They’ll almost always say — without missing a beat — “Oh so like, Physical Therapy (PT)?” or “Does that mean you help people find jobs?”
The answer to those questions is, well, sort of.
Editor’s note: Kaitlyn Sutton is a Galion High School graduate and attends the University of Findlay, where she is in the Master of Occupational Therapy program. As part of an advocacy project, students are spreading awareness about occupational therapists and what they do. This article was written by Kaitlyn.
Occupational therapy, as a profession, has so many layers to it. Yes, occupational therapists are similar to physical therapists. But, we are not the same.
Yes, we can help a client with job performance; but that’s not the only facet of our profession. An occupational therapist can help any client to do the things they want and need to do.
We implement the use of daily activities (occupations) in our intervention process. Our main goal is to enable a person of any age to live their life to the fullest.
I often tell people to think of their favorite activity, one that they couldn’t live without. Occupational therapists are available to get people back to doing what they want — and need — to do.
That could include helping someone with a mental illness brainstorm energy-saving techniques to help them with job performance.
It could include helping someone with a spinal cord injury get their brace on and off efficiently when they get dressed in the morning.
You can find occupational therapists in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities, in outpatient rehabilitation, in home health, in correctional facilities and in industrial facilities.
Whatever the “occupation” may be, occupational therapists are available and can be a helpful tool for people of all ages, gender, diagnoses, cultures, religions, etc.
Occupational therapists are there every step of the way to connect with patients and encourage them to get them back to their normal, healthy, everyday lives.