What is an Occupational Therapist Assistant?

An occupational therapist assistant is someone who works under the direction of an occupational therapist. While an occupational therapist may diagnose and prescribe certain treatments, occupational therapy assistants are mostly responsible for directly working with the patient to achieve the treatment goals. The assistant helps patients use therapeutic activities and exercises in order to help them recover their full, independent and healthy lifestyles in spite of injury or disability.

What does an Occupational Therapist Assistant do?

While an occupational therapist may diagnose and prescribe certain treatments, occupational therapy assistants are mostly responsible for directly working with the patient to achieve the treatment goals.

As an assistant to the occupational therapist, assistants work with individuals and groups experiencing and/or recovering from a variety of disabling conditions. The goals are to enable individuals:

  • to perform self-care
  • to be productive
  • to enjoy leisure skills

Occupational therapists work with people who have been injured or disabled in some way that hinders their ability to live independently. Occupational therapist assistants, under the supervision of occupational therapists, help a wide range of different people and assist in helping them achieve independence and boost productivity. These are people of all ages that need help with their physical, emotional, and social problems.

Occupational therapy helps those struggling to achieve their goals of independence, prevent disability, and enhance their overall development and well-being. Under the direction of an occupational therapist, the assistant helps those with illness or a disability to learn how to take care of themselves and participate in meaningful activities (these activities may be driving, eating by themselves and even working).

Are you suited to be an occupational therapist assistant?

Occupational therapist assistants have distinct personalities. They tend to be social individuals, which means they’re kind, generous, cooperative, patient, caring, helpful, empathetic, tactful, and friendly. They excel at socializing, helping others, and teaching. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of an Occupational Therapist Assistant like?

Traditionally occupational therapist assistants worked in hospitals, but increasingly they are employed in rehabilitation facilities, mental health facilities, home health agencies, outpatient clinics, private practice offices, schools, assisted living centres, and nursing care facilities.

Occupational therapist assistants typically work a 40 hour work week, which may involve weekends, early morning and/or early evening schedules. There are opportunities for full and part time work. The work can be physically demanding since assistants help patients perform exercises throughout the day (which may involve supporting the patient's weight, bending, stooping and lifting).

Occupational Therapist Assistants are also known as:
Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Occupational Therapy Assistant Licensed Occupational Therapy Assistant Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant