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April is OT Month!

April 21, 2016

hannah_picLittle kids always dream about what they want to be when they grow up. It often includes saving people out of burning buildings as a fireman or finding cures for diseases as a doctor. One profession that I did not even know existed as a child was occupational therapy, but what a wonderful profession I was oblivious too. The American Occupational Therapy Association states that “occupational therapists and occupational therapists assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).” The profession of occupational therapy actually emerged from the benefit that nurses and psychiatrists realized patients were receiving from engaging in meaningful activities while on bed rest. It was discovered that these activities eased nervous tension and gave patient’s purpose and meaning. The profession was officially founded in 1917 as the National Society for the Profession of Occupational Therapy with arts and crafts at the center. Ceramics and woodworking were actually taught in early occupational therapy curriculums.

The profession of occupational therapy has greatly emerged and changed since that time. Trust me,
woodworking is no longer part of the curriculum. The rehabilitation movement began to greatly expand with the end of World War II and the profession began to move more to the medical model and put less emphasis on arts and crafts. Occupational therapy is becoming a widely known therapy with therapist’s working across the lifespan in a variety of settings including: NICU nurseries, schools, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes to name a few.

Although I did not learn about the profession of occupational therapy until later in life, (I was actually a business in major in college) I am so glad that I did. I look forward to going to my job every day where I get to use “play” as a way for children to reach their goals. Being a therapist, no matter if it is an occupational, physical, or speech therapist, is one of the most rewarding professions. The profession of occupational therapy is now nearing their 100 th year of existence and they are continuing to strive to meet their centennial vision which is: “We envision that occupational therapy is a powerful, widely recognized, science-driven, and evidence-based profession with a globally connected and diverse workforce meeting society’s occupational needs.” I hope that we are meeting more and more of society’s occupational needs and that you are beginning to realize the importance of this wonderful profession. Enjoy occupational therapy month!

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