Occupational therapy: an international perspective
Introduction. Today in Australia, Canada, the United States and other countries, occupational therapy is a well-known, successfully developed profession. In these countries, universities offer educational programs for future occupational therapists. This has promoted the emergence of Occupational science, a new academic discipline. In Ukraine, this sphere of professional activities and professional education is currently in high request. However, occupational therapy appears to be largely unknown.
Purpose. The purpose of the article is to introduce the international experiences in occupational therapy and present the content, which constitutes the notion of «occupation» as a central activity underlying occupational therapy, ensuring its functioning as a sphere of professional activities and an area of professional education.
Results. The majority of scientific works in the area of occupational therapy are found to be those published in English by foreign scholars. The notion of «occupation» is defined there as human pursuits that are goal-directed or purposeful, performed in situations or contexts that influence the doer and others, and are meaningful to the individual. The notion of «occupation» is considered to be a central activity underlying occupational therapy and its functioning as a sphere of professional activities. The profession of occupational therapy uses the term «occupation» to capture the breadth and meaning of «everyday activity». Occupational therapy is premised on an understanding that engaging in occupations structures everyday life and contributes to health and well-being. The international experiences of professional education and the importance of occupational therapists in Canada, the USA and Australia are outlined. One example is that in Canada an occupational therapist may hold a position of a clinician, an educator, a consultant, a researcher and a manager. Founded in 1952, the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) produced «Revised minimum standards for the education of occupational therapists 2002». The document highlights the role of professional education programs in the area of occupational therapy. The development of occupational therapy as a sphere of professional activities and professional education resulted in the establishment of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy and further development of Occupational science, a new academic discipline.
Originality. The article provides an insight into the definition of the notion of «occupation», the role of occupational therapists in Canada, the USA and Australia, and the importance of professional education in this area. Occupational science is presented as a newly emerged academic discipline.
Conclusion. Following the above, the conclusion is made to the effect that in the context of Ukraine the international experiences of professional education of occupational therapists, the features of occupational therapy process and the spheres of occupational therapy application require further and more detailed exploration.
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