(MINOT, ND) – Lisa Burke, OTR/L, manager of Trinity Health’s inpatient and outpatient Occupational Therapy (OT) services, was among 14,000 professionals to attend the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Centennial Celebration March 30-April 2 in Philadelphia.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of AOTA, which was founded March 17, 1917, to promote a new discipline, which was then defined as ‘an activity prescribed for the purpose of contributing to and hastening recovery from disease or injury.’
‘Occupational Therapy emerged from World War I as groups of caregivers treated wounded soldiers by having them work on tasks that gave them purpose such as woodworking,’ Burke said. ‘The tasks engaged their physical bodies and minds, which lifted their spirits and mental well-being. It was the war and its aftermath that helped society identify the benefits of OT.’
Today, OT helps people of all ages participate in what therapists refer to as ‘activities of daily living’ or ADLs. ‘Ask yourself, what kinds of tasks do you do daily that, if you weren’t able to do because of injury, illness, or disability, you would want help regaining that skill,’ Burke said. ‘ADLs are the building blocks of daily life such as bathing, dressing, eating, being mobile, managing a home, taking part in leisure activities, and participating socially.’
Occupational Therapy has gained importance in healthcare with the advent of legislative initiatives like the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1943, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. ‘Each of these laws expanded OT’s role in providing individuals with purposeful and therapeutic activities to reach their individual goals and to live as independently as possible,’ Burke added.
The Centennial Celebration featured over 1,600 courses that updated occupational therapists on the latest therapeutic methods relative to the many venues of modern OT practice.