6As an occupational therapist, you may: • Use advanced technology to enable a young man to live independently after a spinal cord injury.• Consult in schools to help children overcome writing difficulties and other learning challenges.• Head up a disability management program for a national corporation.• Assist an aging couple to care for one another in their own home.• Travel to developing countries or war-besieged regions to help set up rehabilitation programs.
7What is occupational therapy? Occupational therapy builds the skills for the job of living and solves problems that interfere with people’s ability to do activities or occupations that are important to them. These problems may be a result of injury, disease, social disadvantage, or the environment.Occupational therapists work with people of any age to promote health, prevent disability, and develop or maintain abilities.Occupational therapists are often part of a multi-disciplinary team and work in different settings like hospitals, schools, community health centres and workplaces.
8Occupational therapists assist a client to: Occupation refers to the activities and tasks of daily life that have value and meaning to a person. Occupations can include:• self-care (i.e. personal care, mobility),• leisure (i.e. social activities, sports) and• productivity (play, school, employment, homemaking).Occupational therapists assist a client to:• learn new ways of doing things.• adapt materials or equipment they use.• make changes to their environments.
9Trends in occupational therapy From hospital to community, schools and workplacesFrom employee to independent practice and consultantSome examples:Home modifications Assistive technologyErgonomics Workplace mental healthLearning challenges Medical-legal assessmentsResearch Education
10Required education Move to professional master’s level entry by 2010 Minimum of a B average (varies with programs).Combination of pure, behavioural and social sciences.Expect to do an undergraduate degree plus master’s; length varies with program.Consider community college programs to qualify as occupational therapy assistants.Check specific details with each university program.
11Occupational therapy education programs University of BC, VancouverUniversity of Alberta, EdmontonUniversity of Manitoba, WinnipegUniversity of Western Ontario, LondonMcMaster University, HamiltonUniversity of TorontoUniversity of OttawaQueen’s University, KingstonMcGill University, MontrealUniversity of MontrealLaval University, Quebec CityDalhousie University, Halifax
12Fieldwork education Registration Part of education includes 1000 hours of supervised fieldwork trainingRegistrationMust be licensed by the regulatory body in the province/territory where you’ll work. Some provinces require successful completion of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists certification exam.
13Career stars Meet some occupational therapists... Community Practice Rehab Business OwnerFacility Planner — AccessibilityInternationalRehab Consultant /University Professor
14Jenny Garden Community occupational therapist Chose New Zealand for her second-year fieldwork placement, where she worked with prison inmates who were preparing for release.Jenny now works helping teachers to successfully integrate children with disabilities into their classrooms.Occupational therapy offers so much variety. I am so lucky that I can move to a different area of practice or even a different country if I decide I need a change. I couldn't be happier with my choice.
15Private Practice Occupational Therapist Min KyiPrivate Practice Occupational TherapistReturn to work/expert witness testimonyMin Kyi never complains that his job is boring. He's just about to spend an evening with a rock band roadie. Min's job is to carefully observe and measure —yes, literally measure— the amplifiers, the sound system and the height of the stage, so that he can assess what impact such physical work has on the man's body.I don't think I could have chosen a better field. I have flexibility with my schedule that really suits my lifestyle. I have a level of interaction with my clients that no other health professional has, and I know my work really makes a difference.
16Facilities Project Leader Facilities Development & Construction Pam AndrewsFacilities Project LeaderFacilities Development & ConstructionVancouver General HospitalFormer farmer, geological clerk and apartment block manager Pam chose occupational therapy because she likes figuring out the mechanics of how things work. Now she is an expert on the fascinating intricacies of how human beings move through and function in buildings, and she couldn't be happier.I fell in love with occupational therapy because it took me into the realm of human behaviour. I also needed to be practical. I couldn't study something like philosophy — I needed a marketable skill. I had four boys to feed!
17International Community Rehabilitation Consultant Rachel ThibeaultInternational CommunityRehabilitation ConsultantProfessor of Occupational Therapyat the University of OttawaWhen Rachel Thibeault graduated, she had no idea that her skills would take her to some of the world’s most devastated, war-ravaged countries.Despite the suffering she has been so close to, Rachel remains determinedly optimistic about the unique potential of occupational therapy to heal not just individuals, but to contribute to the rebuilding of civil society in communities traumatized by terror and war.Occupation is universal and the skills of occupational therapy can be easily exported into many contexts and situations. We do not have a limited vision. We don’t get lost in esoteric discourse. We remain rooted in what makes human life human.
18Career checklist Do you enjoy... Are you… Working and helping people? Creative problem solving?Variety?Are you…A good communicator?A team player?Accountable and responsible? Adaptable and flexible?Self-motivated?A self-starter?
19Then find out more about occupational therapy at: Produced by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists