Occupational therapy is a discipline that aims to promote health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful activities. Occupational therapists work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally, and/or emotionally disabling condition by utilizing treatments that develop, recover, or maintain clients' activities of daily living. The therapist helps clients not only to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function. Many believe that occupational therapists are considered Physiotherapy assistants or assistants for many other important health professions such as podiatry or optometry. The ultimate goal of occupational therapy is to help clients have independent, productive, and satisfying lives. Furthermore, occupational therapists are becoming increasingly involved in addressing the impact of social, political and environmental factors that contribute to exclusion and occupational deprivation.
The World Federation of Occupational Therapists provides the following definition of Occupational Therapy: "Occupational therapy is as a profession concerned with promoting health and well being through engagement in occupation." Occupational therapists use careful analysis of physical, environmental, psychosocial, mental, spiritual, political and cultural factors to identify barriers to occupation. Occupational therapy draws from the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and many other disciplines in developing its knowledge base.
=in New Zealand|History of OT in New Zealand]], Occupational Therapy in the Seychelles}} The earliest evidence of using occupations as a method of therapy can be found in ancient times. In c. 100 BCE, Greek physician Asclepiades initiated humane treatment of patients with mental illness using therapeutic baths, massage, exercise, and music. Later, the Roman Celsus prescribed music, travel, conversation and exercise to his patients. However by medieval times the concept of humane treatment of people considered to be insane was rare, if not nonexistent.
In 18th century Europe, revolutionaries such as Philippe Pinel and Johann Christian Reil reformed the hospital system. Instead of the use of metal chains and restraint, their institutions utilized rigorous work and leisure activities in the late 18th century. Although it was thriving abroad, interest in the reform movement waxed and waned in the United States throughout the 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, as physicians became increasingly interested in chronic disease, enthusiasm for the reform of the mental healthcare system was revived in the United States through work therapy.
The health profession of occupational therapy was conceived in the early 1910s. The focus was on promoting health in â€œinvalids.â€ Early professionals merged highly valued ideals, such as having a strong work ethic and the importance of crafting with oneâ€™s own hands with scientific and medical principles. Early opponents of this view considered wood carving and crafting by ill patients trivial.
The emergence of occupational therapy challenged the views of mainstream scientific medicine. Instead of focusing on purely physical etiologies, they argued that a complex combination of social, economic, and biological reasons cause dysfunction. Principles and techniques were borrowed from many disciplinesâ€”including but not limited to nursing, psychiatry, rehabilitation, self-help, orthopedics, and social workâ€”to enrich the professionâ€™s scope. Between 1900 and 1930, the founders defined the realm of practice and developed theories of practice. In a short 20-year span, they successfully convinced the public and medical world of the value of occupational therapy and established standards for the profession.
A substantial lack of primary sources of information has left todayâ€™s occupational therapists with many questions concerning the founders of the field. Information is collected from early training institutions and hospitals, professional writings of practitioners, World War I records from government agencies, newspaper articles, and personal testimonials.
World War I forced the new profession to clarify its role in the medical domain and to standardize training and practice. In addition to clarifying its public image, OT also established clinics, workshops, and training schools nationwide. Due to the overwhelming number of wartime injuries, â€œreconstruction aidesâ€ (an umbrella term for physical therapists and occupational therapists) were recruited by the Surgeon General. Between 1917 and 1920, nearly 148,000 wounded men were placed in hospitals upon their return to the states. This number does not account for those wounded abroad. The success of the reconstruction aides, largely made up of women trying to â€œdo their bitâ€ to help with the war effort, was a great accomplishment. Post-war, however, there was a struggle to keep people in the profession. Emphasis was shifted from the altruistic war-time mentality to the financial, professional, and personal satisfaction that comes with being a therapist. To make the profession more appealing, practice was standardized, as was the curriculum. Entry and exit criteria were established, and AOTA advocated for steady employment, decent wages, and fair working conditions. Via these methods, occupational therapy sought and obtained medical legitimacy in the 1920s.
Matching Occupational Therapy Colleges
University of Southern California
Four or more years; Private not for profit; $42,162 average out-state tuition; $42,162 average in-state tuition
San Jose State University
Four or more years; Public; $16,632 average out-state tuition; $5,472 average in-state tuition
Four or more years; Public; $17,008 average out-state tuition; $5,496 average in-state tuition
University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
Four or more years; Public; $25,380 average out-state tuition; $12,060 average in-state tuition
Texas Woman's University
Four or more years; Public; $11,544 average out-state tuition; $4,032 average in-state tuition
Eastern Kentucky University
Four or more years; Public; $19,056 average out-state tuition; $6,960 average in-state tuition
University at Buffalo
Four or more years; Public; $14,720 average out-state tuition; $5,270 average in-state tuition
Occupational Therapy Scholarships
|Occupational/Physical Therapy Scholarship - DAR||$2,000||February 15, 2018|
|Bowes Family Occupational Therapy Fellowship||$1,867||February 01, 2018|
|Nursing and Health Related Scholarship - SFC||$1,600||December 01, 2017|
|Lillian Stump Nursing and Health Related Scholarship||$1,600||December 01, 2017|
|Colonel R. James Glikes Memorial Scholarship||$1,600||December 01, 2017|
|Dr. Frank Veden Endowed Scholarship||$1,200||December 31, 2017|
|Germaine K. Queen Scholarship||$400||June 01, 2018|
|Donald E. Caswell Memorial Scholarship||$300||March 01, 2018|
|SIKHS Serving America, Inc. Scholarship||Varies||December 01, 2017|
|Nina Royce McGraw Memorial Scholarship||Varies||December 01, 2017|
Occupational Therapy Related Majors
- Physical Therapy
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
- Recreational Therapy
- Art Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Dance Therapy
- Nursing - Registered Nurse Training (RN, ASN, BSN, MSN)
- Medical/Clinical Assistant
- Health Care Administration and Management
- Medical Radiologic Technology -- Radiation Therapist
- Dental Hygienist
- Respiratory Care Therapist
- Health Sciences/Allied Health Services
- Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
- Public Health
- Radiologic Technology -- Radiographer
- Physician Assistant
- Hospital and Health Care Facilities Administration