Occupational Therapy Month is a month-long celebration that occurs every April in the United States, dedicated to raising awareness about the field of occupational therapy (OT) and recognizing the contributions of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that helps individuals of all ages participate in the activities and tasks that are meaningful to them.
During Occupational Therapy Month, various activities and events take place to highlight the importance of occupational therapy in promoting health and well-being. These may include:
Education and outreach: Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants may organize workshops, presentations, and other educational events to promote public awareness about the role of OT in improving quality of life and enabling individuals to achieve their full potential.
Community engagement: OT practitioners may participate in community-based activities to demonstrate the value of occupational therapy in enhancing people's ability to engage in their daily activities, such as volunteering at local events, collaborating with other healthcare professionals, or providing resources to underserved populations.
Professional development: Occupational therapy organizations and associations may offer continuing education opportunities, webinars, and conferences to support the professional growth and development of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, ensuring they stay updated with the latest research and best practices in the field.
Advocacy: OTs may engage in advocacy efforts to promote policies and regulations that support the accessibility and inclusion of individuals with disabilities in their communities, workplaces, schools, and other environments.
Social media campaigns: Occupational therapy professionals and organizations may use social media platforms to share success stories, testimonials, and educational content to raise awareness about the benefits of occupational therapy and reach a wider audience.
Occupational therapists provide valuable evaluation and treatment for our AAC users.
SLPs and OTs often collaborate in AAC evaluation and intervention. OTs play a crucial role in reducing barriers for those with fine and/or gross motor deficits, identifying alternate access methods, and maximizing access for successful and independent use of AAC systems. That can assist the AAC user in their seating and positioning to ensure best access to their AAC system.
Occupational Therapy Month serves as an opportunity to celebrate the profession of occupational therapy, acknowledge the hard work and dedication of occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, and advocate for the importance of occupational therapy in helping individuals lead meaningful, fulfilling lives.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Practice Portal). www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Professional-Issues/Augmentative-and-Alternative-Communication/
Katie Threlkeld, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and the Educational Program Developer at Forbes AAC. She has over eight years of experience in AT and AAC assessment and treatment with both the pediatric and adult populations. Katie has presented at the state and national level on AAC topics and she has University teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level.