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What is occupational therapy and why your child may benefit from it?

As science, technology and the medical industry grow, we learn that not all kids are born completely healthy and that mental illness should be taken as seriously as physical illnesses. Some children have problems communicating their wants and needs, problems completing simple tats and making new friends and bonding. One of the ways to help these issues and many more is occupational therapy. Occupational therapy helps people with physical, sensory and cognitive disorders to live as independently as possible by taking their psychological, social and environmental factors into account. It can help children with;

  • Develop better motor skills like handwriting
  • Increase hand to eye coordination
  • Help kids behavioral problems like acting out
  • Increase developmental skills like feeding and dressing themselves
  • Teach children with disabilities certain skills necessary
  • What kind of equipment the child needs depending on their needs
  • Improve focus and social skills of kids with sensory and attention issues

occupational-therapyAmerican Occupational Therapy Associations say that occupational therapy may be helpful to children with the following conditions:

  • Birth defects or injuries
  • Mental health problems
  • Autism/ pervasive developmental disorders
  • Post surgery recovery
  • Traumatic experiences and injuries
  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Learning problems
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Burns
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • And other chronic illnesses

What is the difference between Physical therapy and Occupational therapy?

While physical therapy helps with pain, strength, mobility, stability, and motor functioning skills, occupational therapy helps to improve cognitive skills, motor skills, visual skills and sensory processing skills. Both are helpful in their own way and create a strong, powerful support system together when needed.

Occupational therapy helps with organizational skills and focus to give your child the upper hand at school and activities. Kids keeping active is important for their physical health but also mental health. But sometimes children don’t know how to engage in a conversation with their friends or get uncomfortable around strangers due to a lack of communicational skills. Occupational therapy can teach children how to get through the day. With the help of exercises, strategies, and accommodations, Occupational therapy can help your child catch up with the other kids if you feel like they lack certain developmental milestones. An OT will evaluate your child’s needs and create custom activities to work on with your little one. These activities may include; full body exercises, multisensory techniques, or if your child has learning issues, the OT can help them understand things a little better.

We all want the best for our kids. Providing the best support and help we can get is our responsibility as parents. Occupational therapy helps those who struggle with motor skills, both fine and gross, by practicing how to pick things up with tweezers or cut things with scissors for fine motor skill improvement and balance coordination by catching balls of different sizes or jumping jacks for gross motor skills.  Occupational therapy in children can lead to fantastic things with big benefits that will make you and your children be thankful about the fact that you got them the help they needed. Young kids with learning issues can improve and become functioning parts of society and even improve their attitude towards you and those around you. After all, when we don’t understand something or unable to do something correctly, even adults tend to get frustrated. It is no wonder a child with developmental issues may have behavioral problems.

Finding the right occupational therapist right for you is the first step towards getting your child on the right path. Most OT practices offer outpatients services and have insurance coverage so if you feel like the younger member or members of your family needs some help with their motor skills like brushing their teeth, writing on a classroom board, grasping a pencil or other developmental problems, asking an occupational therapist may let them enjoy the rest of their lives as much as possible without feeling like they are missing out on something.

Physical Therapy

Four Reasons Why Physical Therapy is Important

Physical therapy is needed by many people every day. Do you have problems with your health that pills don’t seem to be helping? It might not need urgent attention from a medical professional but that doesn’t mean it won’t in the near future. Physical therapy is a great way to not only reduce pain and increase mobility, but it is also the path to follow for those who want to stay strong and mobile for a long time. While there are so many reasons why considering physical therapy for your injuries and recovery processes after surgeries, we picked the top four reasons why physical therapy is important and why your doctor might recommend it. So, without further ado, here are four reasons not to ignore your bodies needs and why physical therapy is important.

Surgery? No, thanks.

Sometimes we can be a little stubborn to accept the fact that we need help when it comes to pain or illnesses. We think that if we give some it time, it will disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the case most of the time and by ignoring the problem, you have created another one. Injuries can be an annoyance to have but without the proper care, they can extend and become much worse, sometimes to a point you will need surgery. If you get injured and heal with the help of a Physical TherapyPT, properly, you won’t need surgery. Not only will physical therapy help you eliminate the risk factor from happening, it will also help prevent any similar injuries in the future.

Pain Be Gone!

Joint pain is something most of us are familiar with. Reaching for something or moving a certain way definitely become harder and harder to tune out and at one point, it may turn into something else! To stop any of that from happening, your PT can fit you with therapeutic exercises, ultrasound, electrical simulations, and taping. Whatever is the most suitable for you, your PT will determine what the best way of treatment will be. Not only will the pain go away, with the help of your physical therapy, it won’t return.

Get Moving!

Are you having issues with bending over, standing up for a long time, getting dressed by yourself, moving while laying down or doing other physical activities that you have been doing for many years? Suddenly, your shoulders and back seem to hurt or your knees are weaker than before. It is normal. Unless you have been in physical therapy for a long time, we are all human and are bound to experience some unpleasantness with age. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Stretching exercises are done with your PT, canes and crutches and other devices that will help your mobility can be provided and properly fit by your physical therapist to help you move freely and happily.

Manage Health Problems

Last but not least. If anything, the most important reason on the list for why you should consider physical therapy. The list of illnesses that can be managed with physical therapy is long. All the way from diabetes to breast cancer, physical therapy can help you manage them and ease the inconvenience of having to deal one more aspect of the problem. Below is a list of some of the illnesses physical therapy can help you with and how.

  • Diabetes: helps to control blood sugar and sensation problems in feet.
  • Arthritis: joint pain relief with exercises.
  • Heart and lung disease: helps cardiac stability and breathing
  • Women’s health problems: special help with post-partum care and adjustments
  • Constipation: special exercises to help move the bowels.
  • Pelvic pain: improves flexibility

To Sum up, Physical therapy is highly recommended and even prescribed by doctors to help everyone feel better and less pain without having to pay heavy amounts of money for surgery or reoccurring doctors’ visits. Knowing that surgery is an expensive and a painful, recovery necessary, process, physical therapy might be the better option for you.

Physical therapy

Physical Therapy: Its role in rehabilitation of persons affected by disability from injury or illness

Physical therapy is a form of rehabilitation therapy. It involves the development, maintenance and restoration of maximum mobility, functional ability and improved quality of life in persons who have been affected by disability arising from injury or illness.

Physical Therapists are licensed health care professionals providing these services in a variety of health settings such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other health agencies where they work as part of multi-disciplinary health teams. They also play key roles at fitness facilities and schools and they make significant contributions to the development of sports and the management of sporting injuries.

The American Physical Therapy Association(APTA) is the professional organization that represents the interests of physical therapists, assistants and students. It is an individual membership professional organization aimed at enhancing physical therapist practice and promoting the awareness of the role of the profession in the society. Physical therapists are licensed by the states in which they practice after passing a national exam to get certified.

What Physical Therapists Do

Their primary focus is to ensure that the patient returns to normal activities safely, and as quickly as possible. Utilizing essentially manual therapy skills and aided by cutting-edge treatment techniques, physical therapists treat specific injuries and related dysfunction with a view to achieving full recovery and reducing the risk of re-injury.

Physical therapyA physical therapist evaluates the patient and comes up with a treatment program tailored to the needs of the patient. Emphasis is placed on patient education and training to ensure that the patient becomes independent as soon as possible. Treatment outcomes are evaluated as program implementation progresses.

Recommendations for self-management at home are made at the appropriate time and home stretching and muscle strengthening are encouraged to facilitate quick recovery. Specific physical therapy services include:

Relief of Pain and Stiffness of Muscles and Joints

Manual therapy techniques such as muscle massage and manipulation are employed in the affected areas of the body to relieve pain and promote healing. Appropriate exercises are also prescribed to strengthen group of muscles and improve posture. When necessary, hydrotherapy can be employed to relax muscles and joints. This involves a series of exercises carried out in warm, shallow water.

Lower Back Pain

Physical therapists are commonly consulted for lower back pain, although the pain may be felt anywhere from the neck down to the hips. Many patients go to a physical therapist because self-help measures have not been helpful or the pain has been persistent or recurrent. They may also have been referred by their doctor or health care provider.

Occasionally lower back pain is due to a medical condition such as prolapsed disc. In such cases, they are usually accompanied by additional symptoms such numbness and tingling sensations and they require treatment by an orthopaedic specialist. However, quite often, doctors have not been able to identify the cause of the pain, in which case it is referred to as ‘’non-specific’’ back pain.

Bad posture, incorrect lifting, awkward twisting, overweight and prolonged standing are some of the common causes of non-specific lower back pain and physical therapists provide appropriate advice on regular exercise, maintenance of a healthy weight and the correct methods to adopt for efficiency in the work environment. Specific therapeutic methods are instituted by the physical therapist to alleviate the pain and promote early return to daily activities.

Rehabilitation after Illness or injury

Medical conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis often require prolonged periods of treatment and rehabilitation. Physical therapists play a significant role in providing support and rehabilitation as these conditions are often accompanied by stiff and inflexible muscles with difficulty in walking and carrying out everyday activities.

Respiratory conditions such the chronic obstructive airway diseases (COPD) may grow progressively worse necessitating the institution of breathing exercises along with medical treatment. To facilitate improved respiration so that affected individuals can carry on with their daily activities, physical therapists are invited to co-manage the patients by introducing specialized program of breathing exercises.

Physical therapists also provide rehabilitation following sports injuries. Sports enthusiasts and seasoned professionals are anxious to return to full sporting activities since early return to the field of play impacts substantially on their income. Other services provided include:

  • Prevention of falls
  • Treatment of bursitis and tendinitis
  • Prosthetics
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Rehabilitation after work related injuries
occupational therapy

What Is Occupational Therapy?

OT (occupational therapy) involves the use of assessment as well as intervention to maintain, recover, or develop the meaningful occupations, or activities, of communities, groups, or individuals. It’s an allied health profession that is performed by occupational therapists. Occupational therapists typically work with people who have impairments, injuries, disabilities, or health problems.

The AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association) is the national professional association that represents the interests as well as concerns of OTs plus improves the quality of OT services. It defines occupational therapists as people who help individuals across their lifespan to take part in the things that they need and want to do, and this is through therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations).

The common occupation therapy interventions are helping kids with disabilities to fully take part in social situations and school, injury rehabilitation, as well as providing support for older people experiencing cognitive and physical changes.

occupational therapyOccupational therapists are typically university-educated professionals, and they are required to pass a licensing exam for them to practice. OTs usually work closely together with professionals in medicine, clinical psychology, social work, nursing, audiology, speech therapy and physical therapy.

Working with Children

The occupations of children are centered around learning and playing. OTs work with kids with any condition, impairment or disability that affects their capability of performing the normal activities of life, like making friends, going to school, eating, getting dressed, as well as being part of a group or club. This includes the following:

  • Sensory and attention issues
  • Developmental delay and disabilities
  • Physical disabilities (for instance, spina bifida)
  • Acute medical, surgical plus orthopedic conditions
  • Neurological conditions (for example, cerebral palsy)

Occupational therapists work in close cooperation with the child, his/her parents, and other people who are important in the child’s life, like their teacher, doctor, as well as other health professionals.

OTs can help kids achieve their developmental milestones like motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination for helping them with school, play, or independent skills such as throwing a ball, holding utensils or a pen). They can also educate and involve carers, parents, and other people to facilitate children’s development and learning. Occupational therapists can help children who have developmental delays learning everyday tasks.

Additionally, they can help children with behavioral issues maintain positive behaviors in all environments. For instance, instead of cutting out or hitting others, they can use positive methods to deal with anger like taking part in a physical activity or writing about it.

Acute Care

OTs work in inpatient hospital environments providing specialist interventions for individuals with different health conditions, including acute mental health, HIV, burns, falls, and post-surgery.

Acute care occupational therapists work to asses clients’ function, cognition, as well as psychosocial needs, plus they monitor client’s function plus progress, prescribing intervention and if it is necessary adaptive equipment for facilitating a safe and successful hospital discharge.

Mental Health

OTs in mental health use group and individual programs and activities in enhancing participation in the occupations of daily life – working, looking after oneself, and engaging in leisure as well as social pursuits. For instance, occupational therapists may work in partnership with consumers to develop particular strategies to allow participation in social activities.

Workplace Injury Management

An occupational therapist uses specialized assessments to determine functional necessities of different jobs, and the capacity of people to return to work. OTs can help with designing as well as coordinating graded programs of return to work. They can assist with educating employers and clients in safe work practices.

Also, they can help in modifying your work environment to accommodate the needs of people to prevent or minimize injuries plus ill-health. Additionally, they can work with individuals who have mental or physical needs in the workplace.

Rehabilitation and Independence

An occupational therapist work with individuals of all age groups to rehabilitate illness or injury. These rehabilitation areas include the following:

  • Helping enhance or regain participation in the occupation of daily life after specific events like stroke, spinal injury or a hip replacement, or within a condition like multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Prescribing and educating clients as well as carers in the adaptive equipment use to assist participation
  • Assessing and modifying community and home environments to improve their independence and safety
  • Ergonomic assessment as well as modification in the community, workplace, or home
  • Providing or manufacturing splints after upper limb or hand injury
  • As OTs work with both mental and physical health needs, they are well placed to provide a holistic approach that pays attention to physical needs and emotional wellbeing when they are working with people after illness or injury.
physical therapy service

Setting Physical Therapy Recovery Goals

The expertise of a physical therapist can be fundamental when recovering from certain injuries and medical conditions. Working with a therapist can help you restore the functionality of the injured body parts. The effectiveness of the various treatments used in physical therapy, however, depends on many factors, and the goals set by a patient are some of them. If you are to get the most out of therapy, you have to know why you are doing it. Understanding your objectives before the program begins provides a plan to work with at each stage. Frustration can set in easily when you don’t feel like your therapy is attaining any progress. Goal setting should be a joint undertaking between the patient and therapist to ensure that both comprehend what is at stake. However, there is a right way to lay out these recovery objectives.

Be Realistic

The cardinal rule of therapy goals is to keep them as realistic and attainable as possible. Don’t be too ambitious with your recovery that you come up with objectives you cannot fulfil. Doing that will only cause disappointments, which can be counterproductive to the process. Understand your capabilities before you set recovery goals. What is the extent of your injury? What is the prognosis? A patient who has had a spinal injury, for example, may not be able to gain full mobility, and that should be included in physical therapy servicethe goals. Begin by setting small goals that you are capable of achieving after your scheduled therapy. When starting the program, for instance, you can say that your objective is to move from the bed to the door with minimal support. After that, the goal can change to moving from the room to the main door. Goals keep you grounded but only if they are smart.

Communication Matters

A patient must be able to communicate freely with the physical therapist during the recovery process. Good communication channels will allow you to get the necessary assistance when establishing goals. With communication, the therapist can help you to be reasonable with your goals. If you are pushing yourself, then he/she will tell you. Communication is necessary to get the motivation you need. The PT exercises can be challenging, and you can easily be tempted to give up. When you speak honestly with your therapist, you can get the moral support and advice needed to keep you on track. Communication allows both patient and therapist to discuss the progress of the program candidly. If it is too slow or going well, the therapist will inform you.

Time Frame

Any goal should have a time frame. It is how you measure progress. Of course, the time frame has to be as realistic as the objectives. For example, an athlete with a torn Achilles tendon may want to get well enough to compete professionally. How long that takes, however, depends on several elements. The severity of the injury, the physical condition of the patient and the type of treatment administered are some of those aspects. A therapist will consider these when establishing the right schedule for recovery. You can say that in three weeks, you will be walking a certain distance. In two months, you will be walking without support. However, don’t be discouraged when you don’t meet your goals in the set period. Adjusting them with the help of your therapist is possible.

The point of PT is to help regain as much as possible. PT programs can be extensive in serious cases. Having recovery goals is good advice for any patient because it allows one to get the most out of therapy. Setting objectives for your PT is the best way to get involved in the therapy, which makes you feel in control. Note that recovery goals can go beyond the PT offered by the therapist. In most cases, patients have to continue with exercises when at home and goals can cover those programs as well. Objectives should be specific so you can tell when you have achieved them.

The recovery road is different for everyone, and that is what every patient must remember when setting goals for physical therapy. Attainable and realistic objectives provide a guide when working on your recovery, which makes it easy to monitor progress. Take the time to identify your PT objectives, which can range from being able to dance at a wedding to running a marathon.

Athletes and Concussions – A Physical Therapist’s Point of View

There’s winter, spring, summer, fall, and of course my favorite season- Football!

As the season kicks off and the grid-iron excitement returns, so does the seriousness and risks of concussions to athletes. As a physical therapist, I often witness athletes, coaches and sports enthusiast make light of the effects of concussions. I enjoy the hard- hitting, neck- snapping action as much as the next guy but consideration of players’ safety and well-being should be paramount. The bottom line is, the severity and complications of concussions are REAL!

Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity so all coaches, parents, and athletes should be able to recognize the symptoms. Whether you’re in middle school, the NCAA or the NFL- here are the facts.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Balance impairment
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Blurred vision
• Difficulty sleeping
• Loss of memory and ability to concentrate
• Mood swings
• Depression and Anxiety

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 3 million concussions occur each year. One of the most common myths is that a person must become unconscious in order to suffer from a concussion. Actually, 90% of concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Here are a few other important things every athlete should know:
• Concussion symptoms DON’T always show up right away.
• Concussions can occur without direct head impact.
• Most concussions occur during regular contact and can be frequent.

Concussions are considered to be a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and should not be taken lightly. Symptoms may seem mild but the injury can lead to significant life-long impairment affecting an individual’s memory, behavior, learning, and/or emotions. Proper diagnosis and management are crucial.

How can physical therapy help?
No two concussions are the same so it is important to have a thorough assessment by a physical therapist to allow him/her to develop a customized treatment plan to your specific injury. A therapist can provide therapeutic solutions to headaches, neck and spine injuries as well as balance impairment and dizziness which are often associated with concussions.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a concussion and would like more information on treatment and prevention, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. For more info on the benefits of physical and occupational therapy treatment, you can contact me at [email protected] or visit us on Facebook or at

Don’t Let Heel Pain Slow You Down. Seek Treatment For Achilles Tendonitis.

As fall arrives, many people will head outdoors to participate in their favorite leisure activities to include long walks and running as well as more vigorous activities.

Written by:
Olu P. Ezeani, PT, CFO

A common injury that I  see is a condition called Achilles tendonitis or tendinopathy. Patients typically complain of a gradual onset of pain slightly above the heel. Many times a patient can not recall the mechanism of injury. Achilles pain can occur for several reasons but the main reason is overuse or stress to the Achilles region.

What happens is that overuse or stress can cause inflammation, micro tears, and pain in the Achilles tendon. Inflammation of a tendon will occur as a natural response to the injured site. When these symptoms are noticed it is important to seek out a medical professional specifically a licensed Physical Therapist to properly diagnose and treat the condition.

Repair of the Achilles tendon

Last season, NBA great Kobe Bryant battled an Achilles injury which eventually led to surgery. Now not many of us share the grueling workouts and intense activity levels as Kobe thankfully, so prompt treatment from a physical therapist  in most cases is sufficient.  But if you want to see what  repairing a torn Achilles entails, Kobe shared the pic below from his surgery with his twitter followers.

A therapist can diagnose this condition and successfully treat using manual techniques along with modalities which will decrease pain and inflammation. These manual techniques will assist in resolving the soft tissue dysfunction. It’s also helpful to properly tape the Achilles area before heading out for your run or pick-up basketball game. Taping Technique is a pretty simple demonstration of taping techniques.

Please be safe this fall and should you incur any of the aforementioned symptoms, please seek out a physical therapist to help alleviate your symptoms. And remember to Keep It Moving!

Ergo OccMed is a therapeutic clinic located in Washington, DC. We are an outpatient based facility staffed only by licensed physical therapists. The therapists at Ergo OccMed specialize in physical and occupational therapy, sports rehabilitation and speech. Ergo OccMed therapists have extensive experience working with chronic pain, joint disorders, prosthetics, sports injuries, work injuries and work conditioning. For more information on our practice and the benefits of physical and occupational therapies, visit us on Facebook or at

Chiropractic vs Physical Therapy… Yes, there is a difference.

Oftentimes when I speak to potential patients they ask of the difference between receiving treatment from a chiropractor vs a physical therapist. This a very common question for people seeking treatment for aches, pains and orthopedic conditions. So in order to address this issue, I have decided to write this blog post.

Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.

Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or
chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals
who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.

Physical therapists can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan, using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices.

I hope this comparison helps. For more info on the benefits of therapy treatment, you can contact me at [email protected] or click here to visit our website.

10 Important Points About Occupational Therapy

In simple terms, occupational therapy is a branch of medicine that aims to help people become independent in all areas of life. Occupational therapists are the individuals who help these people use whatever abilities they have to perform everyday activities or occupations. The most common occupational therapy interventions include helping people with injuries to regain their normal skills, helping disables children to become fully independent at home and in school, and supporting elderly people experience cognitive and physical changes.

The services performed by an occupational therapist includes complete and thorough evaluations of the client’s house, office, or school, suggestions about training and use of assistive equipment, and education for family members. Occupational therapists are holistic in their treatment approach and focus on changing the environment to make it easy for the patient to be independent and perform everyday activities normally.

Here are ten important points about this therapy.

1. To pursue occupational therapy as a career you need to do a master’s degree and pass national license exam. Only then are you eligible to see patients.

2. These therapists can work in different areas such as schools, hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, private practice, and psychiatric institutions.

3. This therapy includes a variety of sub-specialities such as paediatrics, hand therapy, post-operative care, acute management, neurological rehabilitation, ergonomics, and lympedema management.

4. Over 80% of certified hand therapists are actually licensed occupational therapists and are specialized to treat all injuries involving the upper extremities.

5. This therapy is a health science that focuses on rehabilitating people by helping them perform purposeful activities on a daily basis. Therapists work with patients who may be mentally, developmentally, emotionally, or physically disabled by using treatment measures that develop, rehabilitate, and maintain a patient’s daily living activities.

6. These therapists are specialized in designing, choosing, and training about splints or orthotics for upper and lower extremity injuries.

7. Most frequently used this therapy interventions include helping people with injuries to regain their normal skills, helping disables children to become fully independent at home and in school, and supporting elderly people experience cognitive and physical changes.

8. Repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel and tennis elbow can also be treated using occupational therapy techniques. This is done by educating patients about protecting muscles and joints, preventing injuries, manual therapy, and pain management.

9. The end goal of all this therapy interventions is living a normal and independent life to the fullest.

10. Occupational therapists are integral components of a medical team and are very important in all medical facilities.

According to recent statistics, occupational therapy has been named one of the “fastest growing careers”. The number of children and elderly people who need such treatment is increasing by the day. Throughout the U.S.A there are more than 300 universities and colleges that offer courses for occupational therapists and assistants.