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The Role of Occupational Therapy in Facilitating Employment of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

The Role of Occupational Therapy in Facilitating Employment of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

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Occupational therapy practitioners assess demands of the workplace and evaluate an individual’s abilities as well
as barriers to task completion specific to a setting. Many occupational therapists are trained to optimize worker
performance and minimize the risk of repetitive strain injury by fitting jobs to workers.
Occupational therapy practitioners assess demands of the workplace and evaluate an individual’s abilities as well
as barriers to task completion specific to a setting. Many occupational therapists are trained to optimize worker
performance and minimize the risk of repetitive strain injury by fitting jobs to workers.

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03/02/2012

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What Are Developmental Disabilities?
The U.S. Department o Health and Human Services denesdevelopmental disabilities as severe, lielong disabilities that areattributable to a mental and/or physical impairment, maniestedbeore age 22 years, and likely to continue indenitely. Theseimpairments result in substantial unctional limitations inthree or more areas o major lie activity (Administration onDevelopmental Disabilities, 2009).In the United States, more than 40% o individuals withdisabilities who are capable o working with accommodations areunemployed, in spite o legislative requirements or reasonableaccommodations (Dick & Golshani, 2008). Occupational therapypractitioners can acilitate work opportunities in varied settings such as individual competitive work, supportedemployment at sheltered workshops, enclaves, mobile work crews, and transitional employment or theseindividuals. With an appropriate job match, those with developmental disabilities can fourish in the open jobmarket or explore supported work options.
 The Role of OT in Facilitating Work Skills
Occupational therapy practitioners assess demands o the workplace and evaluate an individual’s abilities as wellas barriers to task completion specic to a setting. Many occupational therapists are trained to optimize workerperormance and minimize the risk o repetitive strain injury by tting jobs to workers. For a successul job match,an occupational therapist trained in ergonomics can evaluate the ollowing three primary components o the job(s)in question:
•
Physical Demands: Reers to postural/positional requirements (i.e., standing, squatting); external orcerequirements (i.e., liting weight, grip and pinch orces); limb and dexterity requirements; physiologicalrequirements; duration o the work shit; and amount o time that activities are perormed.
•
Cognitive Demands: Includes such components o thinking as memory, ability to learn, problem solvingcapabilities, and intuitive thought processes.
•
Behavioral/Emotional Demands: Reers to the accepted social processes and interactions that are required toperorm the job duties, and includes emotional regulation, communication, monitoring saety o sel and/or others, initiative (the ability to sel-start), and management o others.
Providing Supports in the Workplace
As persons with developmental disabilities explore their work options, occupational therapy practitioners assistby completing prevocational or vocational assessments, job analyses, and unctional capacity evaluations. To besuccessul, the individual is matched to a job classication or which he or she has the physical, cognitive, andbehavioral/emotional capability to perorm across all demand levels. In addition, adaptive equipment or techniquescan be used with many job unctions to accommodate perormance by someone with a disability. To prepare highschool students or employment, occupational therapy practitioners may work as part o a multidisciplinary teamwithin school work-study programs or community-based programs.
The Role of Occupational Therapy in
Facilitating Employment of Individuals WithDevelopmental Disabilities
www.aota.org4720 Montgomery Lane, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20842-1220Phone: 301-652-2682 TDD: 800-377-8555 Fax: 301-652-7711

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