It’s time to celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, which is April in the U.S. Occupational Therapy Month is all about celebrating the holistic approach that OT has brought to healthcare. The vital importance of the profession aside, it is also about celebrating the miraculous achievements of their clients, the small steps they take to achieve the things they want and need to do. So let’s celebrate and promote the importance of occupational therapy and pay a tribute to the superheroes who help people get back on their feet!
History of Occupational Therapy Month
Occupational Therapy Month was initiated in 1980 in accordance with the annual conference and expo for the American Occupational Therapy Association. But the history of occupational therapy itself is about 100 years old.
The first instance of occupational therapy dates back to 100 B.C. to treat patients with mental- or emotional disorders. Back then, there was no name for the practice, though. A Greek physician, Asclepiades used massages, exercises, baths, and music to heal stress and soothe patients’ minds. There was another Greek physician, Celsus, who used conversation, travel, and music to treat his patients.
During the 1800s, the benefits of occupational therapy were becoming more and more acknowledged and understood, and the practice was encouraged. William Rush Dunton Jr. was a strong proponent of occupational therapy and, eventually, he founded the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy, which is now called the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Dunton Jr. is known as ‘the father of OT’ as he published the first account of occupational therapy as a profession.
Until then, although OT was a holistic approach and there was no evidence-based practice, treatments were provided to those with severe mental health issues by promoting engagement in meaningful tasks. In 1915, Eleanor Clarke Slagle, who later came to be known as ‘the mother of OT’, organized the first educational program for occupational therapists. This was a major turning point in OT’s development as a profession and it started to be recognized as a distinct medical field.
Occupational Therapy Month timeline
The first school for occupational therapists is established in Chicago by Eleanor Clarke Slagle.
The profession of occupational therapy is officially named.
Completion of an examination is required to register as an OT practitioner.
The first edition of Willard and Spackman's “Occupational Therapy” textbook is published, which came to be known as the ‘Bible’ of occupational therapy.
Occupational Therapy Month FAQs
What are some examples of occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy entails our everyday basic routines like getting dressed, organizing a backpack, holding a pencil, writing and copying notes, throwing and catching, etc.
What is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?
Physical therapy focuses on improving movement, mobility, and function, while occupational therapy focuses on helping a person perform daily tasks more easily.
When should I see an OT?
According to WebMD, “This type of treatment can help if you have pain, injury, illness, or a disability that makes it hard for you to do your job or schoolwork, care for yourself, complete household chores, move around, or take part in activities. Occupational therapy (OT) teaches you how to adapt.”
How to Observe Occupational Therapy Month
Acknowledge the efforts of OT practitioners
Take this day as an opportunity to thank occupational therapists who are bringing light to people’s lives and helping them lead a normal life. You can write a brief letter of gratitude or thank you notes or, alternatively, you can turn to social media to acknowledge the OT practitioners. Either way, this will surely bring a smile to their faces!
Educate yourself about the profession
OT Month can be a perfect time to learn about the holistic benefits of occupational therapy. You can search for resources on what OT practitioners do, how they are trained, the scope of the profession, and the rationale behind their interventions. We are sure you’ll find lots of interesting information.
Spread the word
Promote occupational therapy and let more people know about the wonders of it. Share information with your friends and colleagues. Use the power of social media to spread the word and don’t forget to use the hashtag #OTMonth!
5 Facts About OT As A Career
It was recognized as the best job
Glassdoor listed occupational therapy as number four in the 50 Best Jobs in America for 2019.
It is a rewarding career
Occupational therapists earn an average of $84,000 a year.
There are diverse work settings for OT
Work settings for OTs include but are not limited to schools, hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, and mental-health facilities.
Some get paid to play!
Pediatric occupational therapists get paid to play.
Reduces hospital readmissions
Occupational therapy has been found to be the only spending category associated with reducing hospital readmissions.
Why Occupational Therapy Month is Important
It advances the profession of occupational therapy
OT month educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources and serving as an advocate to improve health care.
It honors occupational therapists
The month acknowledges the efforts of OT practitioners and boosts their morale through different activities.
It educates the masses
There are many people who learn about occupational therapy for the first time during occupational therapy month. So this is an important tool to educate the masses about the wonders of occupational therapy.
Occupational Therapy Month dates