The OTA will provide treatment to children and adults of all ages, some with disabilities, injuries and illnesses. They work under the supervision of the Occupational Therapist. The OTA starts out working together with the OT to develop the treatment regimen required for the patient. The Occupational Therapy Assistant will then provide the hands-on assistance and walk the patient through the treatment plan step by step, relying on therapeutic use of routine work in treatment of the patient. As an example, an OTA may teach the patient, who has lost their motor skills, to eat, dress, tidy up, and may take them to and from the occupational therapy facility. The OTA may teach the patient how to utilize special equipment to help make some daily activities easier.
The OTA will observe and write down details of the patient’s progress and distribute this information to the OT. Accurate and proper evaluation and documentation of the patient’s progress is essential in the treatment process. The OT will periodically examine the records to evaluate the condition and adjust treatments as necessary. The OTA will often handle clerical and administrative duties depending on work environment, as well as answering the phone, booking appointments, maintaining equipment and filing insurance claims.
The OTA may be employed in senior homes, physician’s clinics, hospitals, occupational workshops and special school settings.
The Occupational Therapy Assistant’s job may include:
- Assisting patients with learning disabilities and poor social skills
- Help patients carry out daily activities
- Educate the patient in the use of specialized equipment to assist with their daily functioning
- Establish a rehabilitation plan by collaborating with the Occupational Therapist
- Working with disabled children and assisting them in play activities to enhance skills
- Supervise patient activities to ensure they are done properly
- Handle clerical/administrative tasks
- Document and report the patient’s progress to the Occupational Therapist
In order to become an Occupational Therapy Assistant the student should attend a 2 year program which includes both classroom and clinical fieldwork. The hands-on training in this program will provide the student with practical experience.