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What are the skills necessary to become an occupational therapist?

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David’s Answer

An occupational therapist needs to be creative, a good listener, compassionate and detail oriented. You are often working with people who suddenly became disabled such as by a stroke or a car accident and you must be able to understand their feeling of loss and work with them even if they are mad at the world. You must listen carefully to them because your treatment will depend on what their identify as their needs. Occupational therapists help people resume independence in their normal lives doing things like eating, dressing, driving, bathing, etc independently and every person is different so you need to come up with creative options for assisting towards independence. I work with people in their homes so dont have the equipment available in a clinic for strengthening or other needs so you need to be creative and use what is available in the home.

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Elaina’s Answer

Hi Dania!

I think the most important skills in preparing to become an OT include a desire to help others, a non-judgmental perspective on the lives, choices and challenges of others, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, flexibility and compassion! You will learn all the technical skills in school (i.e. transfer training, interventions, handling techniques, etc.) however those qualities can help you become the best provider you can be, as well as a good candidate for school programs. Please ask additional questions if you have them! :)

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Maryann’s Answer

Some of the skills that you need to become a therapist are patience trustworthy, caring, to teach, resourceful, to listen, wanting to help others. I'm not an OT. I'm a PT that supervise rehab personal including OT. It's beautiful to see how the teach him exercises and activities of daily living to someone to become more independent.

Very rewarding profession.

Best wishes

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Sarah’s Answer

To complement the answers already provided, OT's need to be able to "think outside the the box." Our goal is to assist patients to get back to what is in important in their life - eating, dressing, taking care of their home, hobbies etc. Sometimes this requires teaching the patient a different way to do the activity.