With the recent emergence of the National Occupational Therapy Association (NOA), it’s a good time to review the history of occupational medicine in Australia.
NOA was founded in 2003 and is a registered trade association of the profession, which represents around 4,000 occupational therapists across the country.
Its aim is to promote occupational therapy as a safe and effective treatment option.
In Australia, it was the first professional association to recognise the potential for occupational therapy to play a significant role in preventing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
For many people, occupational therapy has become an alternative to conventional treatments, such as physical therapy and chiropractic.
In fact, there are currently a number of occupational therapy providers in Australia, including the Australasian Association of Occupational Therapists (AOAT).
But despite NOA’s growing recognition of the benefits of occupational therapies, there is still a stigma around the profession.
In 2017, it became illegal to practice occupational therapy in Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.
There are also a number who have sought to change that by changing the law.
Dr Sarah Pendergast, a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Western Australia, is working to combat this stigma.
She has worked as an occupational therapist for a number years and believes that occupational therapy should be seen as a normal and useful therapeutic intervention.
“The most common misconception about occupational therapy is that it is not safe, that it isn’t effective,” Dr Penderglast told Al Jazeera.
“It is actually very safe.
In the UK, occupational therapists are already licensed to practise in the UK. “
I think most people will find it very helpful in managing their condition.”
In the UK, occupational therapists are already licensed to practise in the UK.
Dr Pendygast believes that the lack of a professional regulator in the United Kingdom and the lack at present of a similar regulatory framework in Australia could have an impact on the profession’s ability to provide the same level of care as in the US.
“What we need to do is to have a national licensing regime and then be able to operate under that regime,” she said.
So we need that to change, and that’s what I’m advocating for.” “
We have a really, really bad regulatory framework [in the UK].
So we need that to change, and that’s what I’m advocating for.”
Dr Penders goal is to get occupational therapy recognised in the British Medical Association’s Standards of Practice, which aims to establish a national standard for occupational medicine.
The Australian Institute of Occupation Therapy (AIIOT) has also set a goal of having occupational therapy licensed in Australia by the end of 2019.
But Dr Pendinggast believes there is room for improvement.
“There are some areas where we are still a long way off, particularly in terms of how we define and define ‘normal’, and how we describe our therapies,” she told Al Jazeeras.
“And so it’s important that we do our research, do our studies to really understand what people need and what they need to be successful in treatment.”