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Career option: Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy is an allied health science, which involves helping people with physical or mental disorders / disabilities to attain maximum level of functioning.

education Updated: Nov 16, 2011 12:41 IST

The lowdown
Occupational therapy is an allied health science, which involves helping people with physical or mental disorders/disabilities to attain maximum level of functioning. Occupational therapists enable patients/subjects achieve this through a variety of purposeful and adaptive occupations (read tasks or activities). The caseload of occupational therapists is dominated by paediatric cases, including cerebral palsy, autism, learning disabilities, behavioural and emotional problems. And in adults, the common conditions are paralysis, hand, head and spinal cord injuries and other orthopaedic, neurological and psychiatric conditions

Clockwork
The average day of an occupational therapist depends on the place s/he works in. In a large hospital
9am: Deal with OPD patients
2pm: Visit patients in the in-patient department and the ICU
5pm: Call it a day

The payoff
The starting (basic) salary of an occupational therapist is around Rs9300 to Rs38,600 a month in a government hospital. If a practitioner is independent,
he or she can usually earn
about Rs30,000 to Rs50,000 a month

Skills/TRAITS
* Good diagnostic abilities – a therapist has to have complete knowledge of the disorder his or her patient suffers from to offer the correct treatment
* Strong inter-personal skills
* Ability communicate well with patients of all ages
* An occupational therapist needs oodles of patience as many take a long time to respond

Getting there
Take up physics, chemistry and biology in Class 12. You need to clear a written test for entry to a four-and-a-half-year bachelor’s programme in occupational therapy. Though you may find a job with a bachelor’s degree, it’s desirable to take a master’s degree in a specialisation of your interest

Institutes and URLs
* Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped, New Delhi
www.iphnewdelhi.in
* Jamia Hamdard
www.jamiahamdard.edu
* National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata;
www.nioh.in
* GGS Indraprastha University, Delhi,
www.ipu.ac.in

Pros and cons
* Multi-dimensional areas to work
* Frustrating if patients don’t respond to treatment