The overarching goal for any Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) is to assist in improving the quality of life of clients. Indeed, the fact that you’ll be able to help people in tangible ways may be one of the main reasons you’re considering a career as an OTA.
The people you’ll help are likely to have different individual needs and abilities. Here’s a look at some of the types of clients you might work with if you pursue a career as an occupational therapy assistant.
Children and Young Clients Present Unique Opportunities for Occupational Therapy Assistants
Children and younger clients have a wide array of needs and goals that occupational therapy assistants can help with. OTAs work under the direction of an occupational therapist (OT) to help children develop their skills. While the occupational therapist will develop a program for the client, it is the job of the OTA to work directly with that client so that they complete the tasks in the program.
For example, occupational therapists often develop what are called “sensory circuits” for children with autism. A sensory circuit is a series of physical tasks, like skipping, juggling and wall push-ups, that helps autistic children activate or control their sensory-motor activity. A trained OTA will guide the child through each step of the sensory circuit and report back to the occupational therapist about the child’s progress with the program.
Occupational Therapy Assistants Improve the Quality of Life for Elderly Clients
When you become an occupational therapy assistant, you will likely work with senior clients. The needs of seniors vary considerably depending on their individual circumstances, which may range from struggling with Alzheimer’s disease to managing arthritis pain.
For a client suffering from arthritis, an occupational therapist may recommend a range of adaptive equipment that causes less stress to the client’s joints. Your job as an occupational therapy assistant will be to help the client use this equipment and report back to the OT about whether the equipment has helped lessen the client’s pain or not.
Occupational Therapy Assistants Help Support Clients Suffering from Terminal Illnesses
OTAs provide invaluable support to those who require palliative care, such as seniors who are nearing the end of their lives, or individuals suffering from terminal illnesses. The goal in end-of-life care is not rehabilitation, but it is to help the client feel as though they are still leading a meaningful life, even though they may no longer be able to do the things that were once important to them.
An OT will develop a program for the client, which may include small daily tasks like making coffee or performing simple exercises, for instance. When performed by the client, these tasks can help them feel as though they still have some autonomy over their lives. After completing your occupational therapy assistant training, you’ll be equipped with the skills to help such clients complete these tasks, or discuss with their caregiver how they can help.
Occupational and Physiotherapy Assistant Training Can Help Those Recovering from Injuries
An injury, such as from a workplace accident or a motor vehicle crash, can require victims to undergo extensive physiotherapy and occupational therapy. In many cases, the goal of the treatment will be to help the client achieve full or partial rehabilitation. If you pursue occupational and physiotherapy assistant training, you’ll learn much more about the steps involved in rehabilitating from a traumatic injury.
As an OTA, you could find yourself helping injured clients in a number of ways. One client’s rehabilitation program may focus on helping them regain their speech abilities, while another client might need assistance to improve their hand function.
Your role may also consist of helping clients learn how to use special equipment found in their homes, such as stair lifts, grab rails, and raised toilet seats, which can help them live more independently.
Are you interested in becoming an occupational therapy assistant?
Contact KLC College today to learn more about our career training programs!