6 Common Occupational Therapy Interventions

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Common interventions occupational therapy conducts through therapeutic care include: activity analysis, adaptive equipment, assistive technology, therapeutic exercise, education and training. OTAs use their creativity and problem-solving skills to design these interventions to be tailored to each client. They help their clients achieve greater independence.

OT doing exercises with child patient

Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession devoted to helping individuals with disabilities or other challenges to engage in meaningful activities, or occupations. In this blog, we’ll talk about what it is that OTAs do every day during their treatment sessions with their clients. These activities are known as occupational therapy interventions.

What Are Occupational Therapy Interventions?

Occupational therapy interventions are techniques and strategies used by occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) to help their clients achieve their goals. They are based on a complete evaluation of a person’s abilities, limitations, and goals. An OTA works closely with an occupational therapist during the evaluation process and may participate in certain parts of it. The OT and OTA work together, with their clients, to determine the most appropriate interventions to be used in treatment sessions.

student helping elderly woman with stretch bands

Here are six common occupational therapy interventions:

1. Activity Analysis

OTAs analyze the parts of an activity, looking at physical, cognitive, and emotional requirements and find ways to adapt the activity to match the person’s abilities and goals. For example, they may look for ways to make an activity easier or more difficult.

2. Adaptive Equipment

Adapted equipment is often recommended and customized to meet the needs of individual clients. Different types of equipment may include mobility aids like walkers, canes, and crutches. It might also be training in the use of adapted utensils with weighted or built-up handles. Specially designed clothing with Velcro closures or elastic waistbands can help a person dress more easily. OTAs may also work with people using orthotics and prosthetics to help with fit, use, and care of these devices.

3. Environmental Modification

OTAs can work with their clients to modify their environment to make it accessible and safe. This could include adding grab bars or a shower chair or bench. An OTA also might also recommend adjusting lighting or removing obstacles, like clutter or furniture, from stairs and hallways.

4. Assistive Technology

OTAs may recommend and train their clients on the use of assistive technology. For example, OTAs may help people use specialized software providing speech recognition, voice-activated typing or to simplify tasks. They may work with clients to use adapted keyboards, communication boards or augmented communication device in their daily activities.

5. Therapeutic Exercise

OTAs use exercise to help individuals improve their physical abilities such as working on strength, flexibility, coordination, or balance. These exercises are just one method to help a client develop the physical skills needed to achieve their goals.

6. Education and Training

OTAs often provide education and training to clients, their families, or caregivers on how to engage in activities safely and effectively, manage symptoms, or use adaptive equipment.

How are occupational therapy interventions implemented?

OTAs use their creativity and problem-solving skills to help design interventions tailored to each client. They help their clients achieve greater independence and engage in activities they find meaningful. It’s a fulfilling and satisfying career where every day is different.

Due to the many needs served by occupational therapy, you can find OTAs in a number of settings, including hospitals, rehab centers, schools, nursing homes, retirement communities and more. It’s also this demand for services that makes occupational therapy one of the fastest growing areas in healthcare — and why OTA was named the best healthcare support role for the second year in a row.

Earn Your OTA Degree from St. Kate's in as Few as 16 Months

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Interested in finding out how you can pursue an exciting career as an occupational therapy assistant? With three start dates each year and spots available now, you can start working toward becoming an OTA sooner than you might think through St. Catherine University’s Online Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program.

Additionally, unlike many OTA programs, we find fieldwork opportunities for our students. If you have somewhere in mind that you’d like to gain fieldwork experience, talk to your advisor during enrollment. We may be able to arrange for you to do fieldwork there if it meets our requirements. Request an admissions counselor reach out to you to learn more about our Online OTA program.

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The Ultimate Guide to Occupational Therapy and OTA

Get answers to your questions about the field, about the OTA career path, and about St. Catherine University’s Online OTA program.

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