OFO No: 226902
Other names for Occupational Therapist:
Youtube clip – The Career of an Occupational Therapist
For training options in South Africa – scroll down
What is an Occupational Therapist?
An Occupational Therapist is also known as an OT.
An OT is a medical professional who assists people (young and old) with various forms of disabilities.
These disabilities could be:
- Temporary: For example: from illness, surgery, accident or sporting/work injury etc
- Long term: For example: from birth, accident, or sporting/work injury etc (usually permanent)
There are 3 fields an OT can specialise in:
- adult physical rehabilitation
The OT assists patients, through specialised exercises to recover as quickly as possible.
For those patients with severe or permanent disabilities or special needs, the OC helps them to adapt to society and daily tasks as best as they can. They try to help the patient to be an independent as possible.
Occupational Therapists also advise people on how to adapt their environments to help them cope by using aids or special devices. They also advise on making structural alterations to buildings to assist patients.
Here are some of the tasks OT’s may re-teach patients to:
- dress themselves
- prepare food
- return to school
- return to work – related tasks: phones, computers etc
- interact with others
- express themselves
- manage emotions etc
Tools that patients may use, include: walkers, canes, wheelchairs etc.
OT’s not only deal with the physical side, but also assist with mental and emotional challenges and helping patients to socialise and interact with people.
The goal of an OT is to help a person lead an independent, productive, and rewarding life.
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
- assessws patients physical, mental and emotional needs
- works out programmes that best fit the patient for a speedy road to independence
- assists patients with the exercises
- introduces various devices and tools to assist patient
- keeps progress reports
Are you … ?
- interested in helping people?
- emotionally stable
How do I become an Occupational Therapist?
You will need a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree
- University of Cape Town
- University of Kwazulu Natal
- University of Limpopo
- University of Stellenbosch
- University of the Free State
- University of Western Cape
- University of Witwatersrand
- CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
- Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
- To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions.
- OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
- SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
- HEALTH PROFESSIONS COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA
Is becoming an Occupational Therapist the right career choice for me?