Occupational therapy assistants – those with an occupational therapy assistant degree – contribute profoundly to the range of resources and services every community needs to be its best. Here's a look at the various ways occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) contribute to the health and wellness of their communities.
OTAs Helping Within the Community
You'll find OTAs working to help people achieve their goals in a wide variety of settings. OTAs encourage and assist individuals in homeless and battered-women shelters, correctional facilities, group homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals, and in coordination with other community-based initiatives.
Earning an occupational therapy assistant degree prepares you to work with individuals who have a wide range of conditions. Instead of focusing on the medical conditions, OTAs and others in occupational therapy careers focus on improving mental, emotional, developmental, and physical competencies to help that person reach their maximum potential. Some examples:
Not taking a prescribed medication might be one reason someone is sent to an inpatient psychiatric unit. An OTA might ask "What is preventing this person from taking the correct medications?" Answers could include the OTA introducing a per-day pillbox, creating a schedule that is easily referenced, and helping the person to establish reminders by using the alarm clock functions on a mobile phone.
in work scenarios
While the OTA does not diagnose conditions or create the occupational therapy plan, an OTA could be called into a work environment to help someone recovering from an injury to meet their job requirements in new or adaptive ways safely. An OTA might also help an individual with breaking large tasks into smaller ones to enhance job performance.
the needs of special populations
Individuals with mild dementia can often continue to age in place with adaptive help from OTAs. Written, step-by-step signs, for example, guide daily routines. An OTA might also help the person's care provider to set-up limited clothing selections to fit the season. This guided action supports the client's ability to choose and helps make sure the client is not over or under-dressed for extreme temperatures.
up community events
One activity endorsed by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is National Backpack Awareness Day, which tackles the issues kids can have from the pain associated with carrying school backpacks. Other community programs could address post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). OTAs could also offer a workshop to help people cope with social anxiety.
OTAs Emphasize a Whole-person Approach to Care
On the way to earning an occupational therapy assistant degree, OTAs learn activities they can do with clients to promote better health outcomes. OTA students gain the skills and knowledge needed to accomplish client goals in concert with occupational therapists (OTs), and often in coordination with other healthcare professionals.
Some examples of an OTA's involvement in health and wellness activities:
- Communicating knowledge of self-care practices
- Assessing client skills within a home environment
- Making access to educational opportunities easier
- Enabling clients to participate in community life
- Accelerating recovery from injury or illness
- Demonstrating how to adapt to life-altering changes and disorders.
CUKC: Occupational Therapy Assistant Degree
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of more than 190,000 people within the Kansas City metro area. For health sciences education, CUKC is the place.
At CUKC, you can earn your occupational therapy assistant degree in a 2-year format instead of a 4-year format, by choosing the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. Think of the accelerated A.A.S. occupational therapy assistant degree plan as a highly efficient way to go from a degree to a career in as little as two years.
There's never been a better time to earn your occupational therapy assistant degree, and at CUKC classes start three times per year. The accelerated A.A.S. degree in Occupational Therapy Assistant at CUKC consists of 16 core courses that include 4-5 months of fieldwork education. The guided fieldwork involves you in client scenarios that will allow you to meet employer expectations.
Go here to explore the CUKC occupational therapy assistant degree and learn more about career options from this free ebook: Your Complete Guide to an Occupational Therapy Assistant Career.