5 Misconceptions About OTs

Author: Nicholas Sutedja   Date Posted:9 January 2018 

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Occupational therapists helps a lot of people by teaching them how to adapt to everyday life despite the conditions that their clients have undergone. However there are still some misconceptions about them that we will address in this article.

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1. Occupational therapists help people look for a job

Firstly for some reason people think that occupational therapy is all about helping people get a job. Okay so perhaps people meant to take it that occupational therapists help people who are disabled to get a job. So in all honesty ‘occupation’, in regards to occupational therapists, is defined as “any activity in which a person is engaged”.

What does it mean? Simply put occupational therapists help patients to function in various aspects of their day-to-day life due to them living with disabilities. Essentially they are re-learning how to live life so that they can do things again, or as much as possible, without any form of assistance.

That means training them how to do their job again if need be or perhaps even showing them how to do things such as buttoning their clothes should they find it difficult. If, and only if, the client is unable to do their original job due to those disabilities will an OT help them find a job that they can do under their current conditions.

2. Physical therapy = occupational therapy?

Another thing you might ask yourself is if physical therapy the same as occupational therapy? That is false. Physical therapy helps people with strength and mobility issues, such as a stroke victim learning to use an affected part of his body.

It is after the rehabilitation that occupational therapists come in. Continuing our example about the stroke victim, OTs would then teach the patient how to dress themselves, feed themselves, safely move into and out of a vehicle etc.

3. Occupational therapists only work with the elderly

That is not to say though that OTs only work with the elderly and physically disabled. They also work with autistic patients, help people with various situations and assisting others with certain issues. The work that OTs do are as diverse as the medical world itself.

4. Occupational therapists only work in hospitals or clinics

Speaking of the medical world, people tend to think that OTs are restricted to a hospital or clinical setting. Again the settings are as diverse as the specialities and skills of the OT.

Some OTs can spend time in their client’s home as they would teach them how to do things that they once did, others would work with builders and recommending the best course of action to take in designing a building that is disabled-friendly.

Some OTs would even accompany their clients to the workplace to teach them how to best work despite their disabilities as well as inform their employers how to best adapt to the patient’s condition.

5. Occupational therapists do the same thing over and over again

In saying that occupational therapy is neither boring nor repetitive. It’s not the same thing over and over again; with each new, or old, patient comes a new set of problems that needs to be addressed.

Occupational therapy is as dynamic as the patient themselves and best of all: you’re helping the patient. Each time you help a patient you help them not only rebuild their lives, but also make them interested and engaged in their own recovery.

As can be seen occupational therapy is more than what people believe.

What other misconceptions have you heard about occupational therapists? Comment on our social media pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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