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Technical Standards for Students

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For more information, contact:

Dr. Linda Shriber, OT Program Director
(585) 389-2562

As a result of the knowledge and skills needed for practice, candidates for the occupational therapy degree must have the communication, cognitive skills, motor, and behavioral attributes to function in a competent manner in educational, clinic and fieldwork settings.  Each of these settings at times can involve demanding workloads and stressful situations. Accordingly, candidates for the degree must be able to perform specific essential functions that the faculty deem necessary for the practice of occupational therapy. These functions, expressed as technical standards, ensure a safe and effective learning environment for the protection of the student, faculty and clients that you will evaluate and treat.

For the successful completion of degree requirements, the student must meet the following minimum essential standards with or without reasonable accommodation.

Occupational Therapy Technical Standards

Communication Skills

(Includes speech, language, reading, writing, and computer literacy)

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills for papers, presentations, projects, and evaluations according to environment expectations.
  • Demonstrate ability to communicate information to others (peers, faculty, clients, children, professionals, families) in a clear, accurate, and engaging manner.
  • Demonstrate ability to attend to information being given, and ask for clarification when needed.
  • Demonstrate ability to complete forms according to directions in a complete and timely fashion.
  • Appropriately use non-verbal skills to analyze and communicate needs in a professionally acceptable manner.
  • Demonstrate computer competence in using word processing, databases and search engines.

Perceptual/Conceptual Skills

  • Demonstrate ability to process and use verbal, visual, and tactile information.
  • Sufficiently use sensory systems to ensure the safety of peers or clients, and when using thermal, auditory, and electrical modalities.
  • In a timely matter, employ logical thinking, critical analysis, problem solving, and integration of information in a variety of settings.
  • Recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner.
  • Prioritize and organize multiple workload needs or tasks as required by courses, clinical or fieldwork assignments.
  • Gather and incorporate information needed to guide decision making for completing evaluations and formulating evidence-based intervention plans.
  • Demonstrate clinical reasoning to appropriately screen, assess plan for, provide intervention, and obtain information from clients within a variety of settings within reasonable time frames.
  • Pose relevant questions and seek out appropriate answers.
  • Use sound judgment in regards to the safety of self and others and adhere to safety regulations within a variety of settings.
  • Generate college level papers, meet competency levels on exams, and replicate demonstrations provided in labs or clinics.
  • Perform evidence based reviews of the literature to guide informed decision making.
  • Demonstrate beginning research skills appropriate for graduate level work.

Motor Skills

  • Possess sufficient motor function to obtain essential assessment and intervention information from peers (in the classroom/lab) and from clients.
  • Possess ability to motor plan and execute movements to provide appropriate and safe therapeutic guidance, positioning and interventions to clients and/or peers in the classroom/lab setting.
  • Adjust posture, mobility, coordination, strength, and energy for the therapeutic evaluation and intervention process.
  • Perform psychomotor skills in a timely manner for safety and competence.
  • Demonstrate adequate equilibrium and balance skills for the safety of self and others.
  • Demonstrate ability to sit and stand for extended periods of time.
  • Safely move, handle, facilitate, inhibit, position, and transfer various clients and peers (up to 150 pounds).
  • Perform fine motor tasks needed to administer and demonstrate evaluations and tasks, adapt equipment, and fabricate splints and orthotic devices.
  • Safely navigate in various environments for the well being of clients and peers.
  • Demonstrate sufficient strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency procedures if necessary.

Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Professional Skills

  • Display honesty and integrity and personal responsibility for behavior consistent of an ethical professional occupational therapist.
  • Display appropriate language, attire, and behavior in all professional environments including the classroom, clinic, and fieldwork sites.
  • Demonstrate appropriate social and interpersonal skills within a variety of settings and with various cultures.
  • Demonstrate empathy, respect, and sincere concern for others.
  • Demonstrate therapeutic use of self to motivate and assist others.
  • Show an ability to effectively work with those who have a range of impairments or disabilities.
  • Display flexibility and adaptation appropriate to the demands of the situation and/or the needs of clients and their families.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work well with peers, clients, and other team members.
  • Respect diversity in the socio-cultural, socioeconomic, and spirituality of others.
  • Be able to respond to, and adjust actions or behaviors in response to supervision and/or client needs.
  • Follow standards, policies, and procedures specified in the OT Student Handbook, the Fieldwork Handbook, and at fieldwork sites.
  • Demonstrate the motivation to seek out educational and professional development opportunities as a student and future professional.
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