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Articles categorized as ‘University of Newcastle Occupational Therapy School’

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

What is occupational therapy?

Most everyone has heard of physiotherapy and what it entails, but what exactly is occupational therapy (OT) and how does it differ from physio?

Australian Occupational Therapy Schools in Australia

OT can assist with everyday activities—even walking!

While physiotherapy evaluates, helps to maintain and restore physical function, occupational therapy helps to solve the problems that interfere with a person’s ability to do everyday things, such as getting dressed, bathing, washing dishes, eating, and other tasks most of us take for granted. Occupational therapy can also prevent a problem or minimize its effects.

Usually, occupational therapists are sought when a disability, injury, illness or other problem limits someone’s abilities to care for himself, participate in work, or just enjoy regular leisure time or hobbies. These skills and regular activities are so important to us as people that they often describe how we view ourselves—we identify with our jobs and activities. When disability or injury prevents someone from being able to accomplish a simple, everyday task such as buttoning a shirt, it can affect how he or she feels about himself. That’s where an occupational therapist comes in.

Occupational therapists are highly trained health-care professionals, and they define an occupation as much more than a chosen career. Occupation refers to everything that people do during the course of everyday life, including feeding and dressing themselves. Everyone has many occupations that are essential to our health and well-being.

What do occupational therapists do?

According to the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, “occupational therapists use a systematic approach based on evidence and professional reasoning to enable individuals, groups and communities to develop the means and opportunities to identify, engage in and improve their function in the occupations of life. The process involves assessment, intervention and evaluation of the client related to occupational performance in self-care, work, study, volunteerism and leisure. Occupational therapists may assume different roles such as advising  on health risks in the workplace, safe driving for older adults, and programs to promote mental health for youth. Occupational therapists also perform functions as manager, researcher, program developer or educator in addition to the direct delivery of professional services.”

Depending on the particular situation, an occupational therapist will check

  • what one can and cannot do physically (including strength, coordination, balance, or other physical abilities);
  • what materials are used in the occupation (e.g., cooking utensils, clothing, tools, furniture, etc.);
  • what one can and cannot do mentally (coping strategies, memory, organization skills, or other mental abilities);
  • the social and emotional support available in the home, school, work and community; and
  • the physical setup of the house, school, workplace, classroom, or other environment.

An occupational therapist can help by showing someone how to do something with the abilities he/she has, including improving memory, dressing, cooking, cleaning, getting around the house, going out of the house, travelling, and grocery shopping—just to name a few! But that’s not all. Occupational therapists are also trained how to help others cope with their disabilities. OT can help with coping strategies, strength, coordination, and confidence, and recommend changes to environments that will be helpful. Community support may also be available, and the occupational therapist will also assist with finding specialized transportation, support groups, and funding agencies.

Where do occupational therapists work?

Occupational therapists are generally employed in community agencies, hospitals, chronic care facilities, rehabilitation centres and clinics, schools, social agencies industry or are self-employed. While some occupational therapists specialize in working with a specific age group, like the elderly, others may specialize in a particular disability such as arthritis, developmental coordination disorder, mental illness, or spinal cord injury.

Australian Occupational Therapy Schools

Three of OzTREKK’s universities offer a four-year Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degree, and two universities offer a master’s-level qualification program for those wishing to become an occupational therapist.

The following OzTREKK Australian Occupational Therapy Schools offer two-year graduate-entry occupational therapy programs for those who have already completed an undergraduate degree:

If you have not completed a bachelor degree, you may be interested in Bachelor of Occupational Therapy degrees:

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Do you have any questions about occupational therapy programs? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Occupational Therapy Schools Admissions Officer Sarah Bridson at sarah@oztrekk.com, or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355. Contact OzTREKK for more information about how you can study in Australia and about occupational therapy programs at Australian universities!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Occupational therapy student website to launch in Newcastle

An innovative and flexible student-centred website, the first of its kind in the world for occupational therapy students, will be launched at the University of Newcastle today, Thursday 23 May, by Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline McMillen.

Learn more about the University of Newcastle Occupational Therapy School

University of Newcastle Occupational Therapy School

Five partner universities, led by the University of Newcastle, developed the Occupational Therapy Competencies Australia (OTCA) website, which encourages student self-assessment, flexible learning and professional development.

The interactive website invites occupational therapy students to set learning objectives, use the practice resources, self-assess their skills and submit evidence of their competencies, resulting in an ePortfolio of evidence that summarizes their competencies. The website includes videos, audio files and quizzes. Students invite their educators to verify and track their progress.

University of Newcastle OTCA project leader, Professor Susan Ryan said the resource would complement students’ university study, and help prepare competent, career-ready graduates.

“The University of Newcastle fosters and supports innovation in our teaching and learning. Through the OTCA project, the first website of its type in the world for OT students, we are proud to be supporting and growing the next generation of occupational therapists.

Occupational therapists play an important role in enhancing the lives of people who have  limitations in their occupational functioning. Occupational therapy helps people to live a more meaningful occupational life.”

Professor Ryan said the website could be adapted for inter-disciplinary and international use, as well serve as a platform for future research.

“The OTCA website was presented recently at three national occupational therapy meetings and attracted interest from other Australian, New Zealand and other international universities who would like to adopt the website for their OT programs.”

The project, funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching, was mapped to the 2010 Australian Minimum Competency Standards for New Graduate Occupational Therapists (ACSOT) published by Occupational Therapy Australia (2010).

The University of Newcastle’s partner universities on the project are University of Western Sydney, La Trobe University, Charles Sturt University and James Cook University.

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Find out more about occupational therapy programs available at Australian universities. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Occupational Therapy Schools Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston for more information. Email  shannon@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1 866-698-7355. Study in Australia!