Working with people who have difficulties is particularly rewarding and here in Australia, we have the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), which is a government department that oversees funding and resource allocation for occupational therapists. If an Australian citizen has a child that they link has learning difficulties, tests can be carried out to determine if the child has any learning impediments. If they have, the parents can register with NDIS for funding and they would connect them with an organisation such as Ability Action Australia, who have many occupational therapists on their books.
A four-year course, the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy can be completed partially online and with perhaps 1000 hours of work placement, you learn in a hands-on way, with classroom theory and practical to gain authentic experience.
Once you become an occupational therapist, you would be involved in the following:
- Assessing children with disability.
- Assessing injured workers.
- Home support for children with Autism – Working with parents and carers to formulate and implement positive behaviour practices and setting goals.
- Assessing the need for special equipment.
- Assessing workplaces with regard to safety.
- Holding workshops on safety and manual handling.
- Functional capacity assessments.
- Dementia care and planning.
Regardless of where you are in Australia, you are not far from a university that offers degree courses in occupational therapy; it should be noted that this degree can also help you move into care and support and other career paths, so you are not limited to OT. Start with a Google search to find course details and fees information, plus you can find out a lot about the career options you have when you graduate. Click here for tips on seeking out career opportunities.
Work experience placement
If you are prepared to travel, you could be placed in a remote community in the Northern Territories, or working with native Australian communities, which is very rewarding. Of course, you will have a manager when working in the field, while you also have a university mentor, someone you can talk to about anything. The course is no walk in the park and you need to apply yourself 100% to the task, yet working with people and helping them by teaching new skills is incredibly rewarding.
Ability Action Australia
This organisation is dedicated to supporting occupational therapists and connecting them with patients; if you are looking for career information, Ability Action Australia can guide you to the best career and help you examine all the options. 2024 applications are now open.
There is no reason why you can’t go on to a master’s degree or PhD, which would open doors in management and offers great prospects. Learn more about the NDIS and how it supports occupational therapists and the parents of children with disabilities.