Many of us take activities of daily living (ADLs) for granted, but what happens when life circumstances suddenly cause us to need help with them? This is where occupational therapy steps in to help people with their ADLs.
ADLs are usually separated into two categories: basic and instrumental. The former often consists of tasks like dressing, grooming, bathing, and eating, while the latter represents more complex tasks such as preparing meals, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, and driving. This is by no means an exhaustive list of ADLs, but you can certainly anticipate encountering them in your career.
After completing your occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program, you’ll be working to help individuals perform these daily tasks more easily. If you can help someone to regain their independence and try overcoming their circumstances, you can help lead them to a happier and freer life. Here’s why ADLs will be a major component of your responsibilities if you’re seeking a career as an occupational therapy assistant.
Occupational Therapy Assistants Help Patients Regain Their Independence
Whether through injury, illness, disability, or chronic condition, the ability of children, adults, and seniors to perform daily tasks can be greatly impeded. As an occupational therapy assistant, you’ll be expected to carry out the OT’s treatment plan to ensure the patient can regain a sense of freedom despite their limitations, and help put it into action — even if it means teaching them alternative strategies to perform tasks to compensate for their circumstances.
Under the supervision of an occupational therapist, you will be providing patients with therapeutic activities that can help improve their functioning and ability to complete certain tasks. To become an occupational therapy assistant is to help people reclaim their self-sufficiency, and doing so successfully will be a great source of satisfaction for you, the OT supervising you, and the patient.
ADLs Will Come Up When Patients are Relearning Tasks Through Injury or Disability
Some patients are in need of occupational therapy through an injury to their extremities and/or an illness that has caused them to need to relearn skills that once came so easily. As a result, these patients will need assistance with basic and/or instrumental ADLs, and the OTA will be responsible for teaching them how to carry out those tasks again.
After your occupational therapy assistant program, you may also work with the disabled, such as helping children with autism with social interaction, or those with any other developmental or physical disability. You will learn about neurological and communication disorders in your program, as well as various other aspects of the profession, to better understand how to give optimal treatment and activities that best suit these patients. It’s important not only to regularly monitor how patients progress with these activities, but to also offer positive reinforcement and encouragement along the way.
You’ll Cater to a Variety of Needs When You Become an Occupational Therapy Assistant
People often need occupational therapy for coordinating their motor function, but also for their cognitive and/or sensory function, or other psychosocial factors. You may interact with patients with various physical limitations early in your career as well, since OTA programs often include a work placement component in environments like a hospital, physiotherapy clinic, and/or a long-term care facility.
Examination results for each patient will be different, and some may need more help with rudimentary tasks such as personal hygiene, eating, or using the bathroom, while others may be in more need of assistance with going to places outside their home, caring for their pets, or even communicating and socializing with others. Either way, there’s a learning curve for each patient, but adapting to it successfully will help them along the road to recovery.
Want to enroll in an occupational therapy assistant course?
Contact KLC College to find out more!