Ask Julie

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Q: What do they do?
I am a 16 year old girl. We have foster kids at home; one of which sees an occupational therapist regularly.

I am intererested in working with kids as an occupational therapist when
I graduate. I would like to know what exactly they do. Please give me
as much information as you can.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

A: Dear Melanie,

Occupational Therapists work in many settings, this is a major attraction of the career. Look again at my Q&A page (the general questions and student page).

You will find a hot link to the UCAS site providing details of training courses in the UK. There are several routes to become and OT but it is a degree level career as is physiotherapy.

Your school will have information on OT. Go and visit some places that OT's work locally. The visiting OT is an excellent springboard for you.

Q: What is an Occupational Therapist (OT) ?
A: OTs work with people of all ages to help overcome the effects of
disability and enable people to become as independent as possible.
Q: What types of disabilities do Occupational Therapists (OTs) help?
I have a 77year old Mum, who had a Hip Replacement done August this Year, and has got to have 2 Knee Replacements done. (1)this year and (1) early next year. She has been told she is going to have an Occuppational Therapists visiting her, quite soon. Could you please explain what she will be doing, or saying.
( Sent in by Mr.B. Whittington. )


OTs help with any disability or illness that limits a persons
ability to function. This may be due to either a physical or psychological problem or in many cases a combination of both.

The OT will talk to your Mum and find out if she has any difficuties with any personal care tasks. Often doing things in an alternative way can make a difference to a person's abilities. If your mum has knee problems on top of previous hip problems she will probably have difficulties with standing for a long period of time and difficulty bending her knees. Tasks like rising from a toilet, bathing, showering and reaching down to electric sockets can be made easier by the provision of some pieces of equipment or minor adaptations can be arranged. If you look at your local social service website this should outline the help that can be provided. The OT can also provide details of any other help that may be avilable in your area.

Q: How do OTs help people become more independent?
A: This is mainly achieved by a combination of:
- improving a persons physical function in conjunction with other therapists
(physiotherapist and speech therapist).
- teaching new methods of coping with an activity.
- assessing for and providing equipment to overcome difficulties, ranging
from feeding to bathing equipment.
- assessing and arranging for adaptations to property, ranging from a
handrail to an extension to house a ground floor bathroom.
Q: Where do OT's work?
A: OTís work in a wide variety of places. Initially most were based in
Hospitals and the community but today the scope continues to increase and
they work in places like:

special services...nursing homes...disability advice centres...private hospitals...rehabilitation units...research units...prisons and secure hospitals...spinal injury units...alcohol treatment units.. outreach psychiatric teams...child development units...independent part of the occupational health team...primary care team...wheelchair assessment centres...driving assessment centres...companies selling disability management companies..............