Occupational Therapy Defined
Occupational therapy is based on the belief that the need to engage in occupation is innate and is related to survival, health, well-being, and life satisfaction. Occupational therapy, therefore, is a profession whose focus is to enable a person, group of persons, or community access and participation in activities that are meaningful, purposeful, and relevant to their lives, roles, and sense of well-being (AOTA, 2002). Occupation is both the primary form of intervention (means) and the desired goal of intervention (end) (Trombly, 1995).
Beliefs about Humans
Humans are complex beings dynamically interacting within a variety of contexts such as physical, social, temporal, cultural, psychological, spiritual, and virtual environments to evolve, change, and adapt to their highest potential. Each person possesses unique personal characteristics and experiences (e.g., genetic disposition, interests, values, beliefs, goals, abilities, skills, needs, and background/cultural environments). These characteristics and experiences may enable or interfere with a person’s ability to perform chosen occupations.
How Humans Learn
Successful learning is predicated on the learner and educator assuming joint responsibility for the educational experience. The potential for learning is enhanced through a developmental process in which the learner and the facilitator collaborate on establishing and evaluating goals, processes, and outcomes. Further, effective and progressive learning, from knowledge acquisition through synthesis, occurs via multidimensional instructional strategies that build on prior knowledge and experience. These strategies include didactic instruction, experiential learning, critical thinking and reasoning, problem-based learning and self-reflection (AOTA, 2007).
The Philosophy Personified
It is the intent of the program that graduates from the University of Central Arkansas Department of Occupational Therapy will use the power of occupation as their primary method of evaluation, intervention, and health promotion (AOTA, 2007).