Pre-Occupational Therapy Major: 6 Ways Occupational Therapists Change Lives

how occupational therapists positively impact patient lives

When you major in pre-occupational therapy, you commit to entering a rewarding field. Indeed, one thing that makes occupational therapy an especially fulfilling career is that occupational therapists have opportunities to change their patients’ lives for the better. 

Those opportunities are possible because occupational therapists can specialize in a variety of different areas, allowing them to choose the population of people they are most interested in working with, whether they are children, the elderly, those with disabilities or others. Those pursuing a pre-occupational therapy major will want to begin thinking about the area of the field in which they want to specialize.

Just as the practice of occupational therapy involves a personalized and holistic approach that employs different practice models to address personal, environmental and cultural factors, the area of specialization an occupational therapist chooses is also dictated by multiple factors. These include where the occupational therapist chooses to live and work, available employment opportunities and personal preferences.

Regardless of what motivates an occupational therapist to select a particular specialty, however, the one constant will be the potential to have a positive impact on others. 

How Occupational Therapists Positively Impact Patient Lives

Here are six ways occupational therapists can change lives for the better: 

  1. Reducing dependency on others to do everyday tasks. The daily activities many of us take for granted represent freedom and independence to those who cannot do them. Occupational therapists can help patients regain or acquire the ability to do basic housework, tie their shoes or even open a door.
  2. Helping children succeed in school. Children, especially those with disabilities, can face enormous difficulties navigating the demands of school and interacting effectively with peers. Occupational therapy can help them adapt to the physical and social environments they will encounter in school to better position them for academic success and handle social situations more effectively.
  3. Assisting athletes in recovering from injuries. While physical therapy is common for helping athletes overcome injuries, occupational therapists can also work with injured athletes to help them recover, manage pain and return to doing everyday tasks that may have been hampered by their injury. 
  4. Helping older adults prevent falls. Few things are more dangerous to older adults than falls, which can result in broken bones, serious injuries, long hospital stays and even the need to move to a care facility. By helping them safely navigate their surroundings, occupational therapists can help older people avoid these devastating falls and, in many cases, stay in their homes longer.
  5. Helping people recover from surgery. Getting back on their feet following surgery can be a long and difficult road. Occupational therapists can help speed recovery by working with patients on specialized plans to resume their normal everyday activities.
  6. Enabling those with permanent disabilities to lead more normal lives. Occupational therapists work with those with disabilities on individualized strategies to help them be more independent, improve their mobility and lead normal lives that can include living alone and holding down jobs.

Begin your journey toward making an impact as an occupational therapist at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. Carlow offers a major in Pre-Occupational Therapy that will provide you with a working knowledge of occupational therapy and prepare you for graduate study in this fast-growing field.