Monday, February 1, 2010

The importance of research in OT

For some reason, this semester is a bit more challenging for me than last semester. The content is more synergistic but there is just so MUCH of it. Two classes that will really require a lot of my attention are Occupational Research and Theories in Occupation.

OT Theories reviews many of the models, frames of reference and framework(s) that OT's use when evaluating and working with clients. OT Research is finding a subject in which I am interested, such as geriatrics or nutrition, and asking a clinical qualitative or quantitative question that relates to OT. Some examples include:

  • How are women in the U.S. military dealing with post-traumatic stress and how can OT help?
  • What is OTs role in working with adults with ADHD?
  • In what ways does OT help people with disabilities (such as cerebral palsy) transition to independence as an adult?
  • How can OT be useful to people who have been disabled due to a natural disaster, such as those in the earthquakes of Haiti or the tsunami of of Thailand?
  • What is the future of OT in helping the elderly 'age in place'?
These are very simple questions but I write them just to give you an example. Many of my peers and I intend to ask and answer questions such as these and create the framework for a clinical study (without actually performing the study). This is a very interesting class and much needed in the OT field because they provide the evidence for the importance of OT. Without research, and the studies to back it up, insurance companies, clients, and perhaps even OTs, would question the importance, validity and viability of OT practice.

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