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occupational therapy (O-T)  

College of Science and Allied Health
Department of Health Professions
Program Director: Peggy Denton
4032 Health Science Center, 
e-mail: denton.pegg@uwlax.edu 

Associate Professor: Denton;
 Assistant Clinical Professors:
Dougherty-Harris, McCannon;

            Occupational therapists are health professionals who work with individuals to maximize performance in their everyday life tasks when impacted by injury, disease, or other health risk.  Occupational therapists are part of a healthcare team that may also include physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, speech pathologists, and recreational therapists.  “Occupation” refers to those everyday meaningful tasks that individuals do each day.  The goal of occupational therapy is to help individuals successfully engage in these goal-directed, purposeful tasks that comprise daily life.

            The occupational therapy program is offered at the graduate level and the curriculum spans 30 months. The program does not require a specific undergraduate major, but students must have a background in particular areas. These include the following UW-L courses: BIO 312, 313; PHY 125; PSY 212; MTH 145.  Information about the O-T program, admission criteria and selection process is available at www.uwlax.edu/ot/. 

            The occupational therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220; (301) 652-AOTA).  Students graduating from the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR).  Most states require licensure in order to practice; however state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination.   A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification exam or to attain state licensure.


Dual Degree: Psychology and Occupational Therapy    

This is a special dual degree program which enables a student to receive both a Bachelor of Science degree (Psychology major) and a Master of Science degree (occupational therapy) from UW-La Crosse. The total length of time for both degrees typically is five and one half years plus summers. Students usually can complete their BS in psychology at the conclusion of the fall semester in their fifth year. In order to complete their BS, students must complete a minimum of 120 credits, including the General Education requirements, the CLS core requirements, the program option of 18 credits at the 300/400 level outside of psychology, and the psychology major. The BS degree and the MS degree share approximately 12 credits via specific course substitutions plus 17 credits of electives, which allows for a shorter course sequence for the students. Both the psychology department and the occupational therapy program have course work check sheets to help students plan each semester of their program and to be sure that the prerequisite requirements for the occupational therapy program also are met. Students who express interest in the dual degree program will be selected for entrance into the occupational therapy graduate program based on the standard admissions criteria. Interested students should contact the occupational therapy program as early in their college careers as possible. The dual degree option is available to students with 60 or fewer credits completed towards their undergraduate degree and a 3.0 cumulative GPA. 


O-T 410*     Cr. 3
Research Designs in Occupational Therapy
Applies scientific method to research problems in O-T practice. Systematic application of hypothesis formation and decision-making will occur through the use of research design principles. Application of research design principles to practice and program outcome assessments will be addressed. Prerequisite: admission to O-T program or consent of the instructor. Offered Sem. II.  

O-T 411*     Cr. 3
Biomechanical Applications
The mechanical principles and theories are utilized to develop analytical skills to assess human movement. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: H-P 421. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T 412*     Cr. 3
Pediatric Rehabilitation
Abnormal occupational performance of a child as a result of disease or injury in childhood/adolescence will be examined. Students will identify various models of occupational therapy practice typically used to treat childhood disease or injury. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: O-T 402, 405. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T 413*    Cr. 4
Occupations and Pediatrics
Occupations of childhood and adolescence undergoing atypical development as a result of disease or injury will be critically analyzed within this course. Case study analysis and fieldwork experiences will assist the student in applying the occupational therapy process to the area of pediatrics. Lect. 2, Lab. 2, Disc. 3. Prerequisite: O-T 405. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T 414*     Cr. 2
Therapeutic Techniques II
Students will refine skills in task analysis, adaptive techniques, and the use of therapeutic activities in regard to therapeutic potential and age. Emphasis will be on utilizing computer technology and specific craft techniques as therapeutic media used with occupational dysfunction. Lect. 1, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: O-T 404. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T/PTS 415/515 Cr. 3
Functional Neuroanatomy
This course will address the anatomical basis of neuroscience with emphasis on rehabilitation. Structure and physiological function of the central nervous system will be correlated for normal and abnormal processes. Patient examples and research literature will be utilized to foster appropriate clinical decision-making skills in students. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: admission to the OT/PT graduate program. (Cross-listed with PTS 515. May only earn credit in O-T or PTS.) Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 420/520 Cr. 3
Introduction to Occupational Therapy
This course introduces the fundamentals of occupational therapy. Topics include an overview of the history of the occupational therapy profession, theoretical frameworks, the O-T program curriculum design, and contemporary occupational therapy practice. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T graduate program. Offered summer session. 

O-T 421/521 Cr. 2
Professional Foundations of Practice
A series of learning experiences designed to support clinical practice in occupational therapy. Topics will include standards of occupational therapy practice, occupational therapy core values, ethics and ethical decision-making, professional behaviors and communication, the interview process as a basic tool for gathering data, the adaptation of the interview process to include various health traditions and cultures, the importance of the self-reflective process, and universal precautions and basic skills needed when working in a healthcare situation. Lect. 2, Lab. 4. Admission to the O-T graduate program. Offered summer session. 

O-T 423/523 Cr. 3
Human Physiology
A study of physiological systems of interest to therapeutic practice and the relationship of these systems to normal function. Admission to the OT/PT/PA graduate program. Offered summer session. 

O-T 424/524 Cr. 4
Human Anatomy
Provides an in-depth understanding of the gross anatomy of the human body through lecture, laboratory experiences, audiovisual, computer and gross cadaver prosection. Systems included are musculoskeletal, neurological, and skeletal. Biomechanical function, topographic and clinical applications are emphasized. Lect. 2, Lab. 4. Admission to the O-T graduate program.  Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 426/526 Cr. 3
Occupational Analysis of Human Movement
This course will examine the development of movement, the biomechanics of movement, and motor learning. Different theories of movement development will be compared and contrasted as postural foundations and movement milestones essential to occupational performance are examined. Mechanical properties of movement will be learned and applied in relation to occupation based postural and movement assessments. Examination of motor control/learning theories and their relationship to the occupational therapy management of movement disorders across the lifespan will take place. Lect 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T graduate  program. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 430/530 Cr. 3
Occupational Performance Analysis
This course examines key concepts used in the description and analysis of occupational performance. The form, function, and meaning of occupations will be explored in relation to performance areas, process skills, activity and occupational configurations, contextual issues (culture, time, spirituality, physical and human aspect, etc.) and client factors. Task analysis, selection and grading of activity, the teaching/learning process, compensatory techniques, and occupation as therapeutic ends and means will be explored and applied in relation to the design and implementation of treatment with various populations in traditional and non-traditional practice settings. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: admission to O-T graduate program. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 443*     Cr. 2
Health Care Systems
This course reviews the present state of the health care industry. The course focuses on the departmental fiscal management as well as assistant/ employee supervision. The operation of a therapy department is discussed in relation to fee structure, equipment acquisition, professional liability, and reimbursement issues. Quality assurance and practice issues are also discussed. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T program or P-T program.  (Cross- listed with P-T 643; may only earn credit in O-T 443 or P-T 643, not both.) Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 450/550 Cr. 2
Scholarly Practice I: Foundations of Assessment
This course introduces the student to principles of occupational therapy assessment. Topics covered include psychometric aspects of assessment, selection of assessment tools, reading and interpreting test manuals, use of standardized and non-standardized assessment tools, and the role of the occupational therapy assistant in assessment. Students will begin to develop their professional skill set by administering, recording, and interpreting the results of several assessment tools. Students will conduct interviews, as well as practice documentation skills, during this course. Lect. 1, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T graduate program.  Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 461*     Cr. 4
Occupations and Psychosocial Dysfunction 
This course will include the study of occupation with an emphasis on O-T application to the mental health population. A laboratory component of the course will be used to explore the group process and provide an opportunity for practice using evaluation tools. A problem based learning component of the course will address the O-T process through systematic case study analysis. Lect. 2, Lab. 2, Disc. 1.5. Prerequisite: O-T 405. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 462*     Cr. 3
Adult Rehabilitation
The effects of acute and chronic disability on occupational therapy performance will be explored in the context of the adult rehabilitation patient. Evaluation and treatment of the adult individual with rehabilitative needs will be emphasized. Prerequisite: O-T 406, 412. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 463*     Cr. 3
Practice and Measurement
This course serves as the laboratory experience for O-T 462. Students will practice assessment tools and treatment intervention methods typically used with adults with occupational dysfunction. Lect. 1, Lab. 4. To be taken concurrently with O-T 462. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 464*     Cr. 4
Occupations and Adulthood
The study of occupational dysfunction with the adult population will be covered in this course.  Students will analyze case studies and justify therapy options with the adult population.  Practice experience in a clinic setting will be included within the course. Lect. 2, Lab. 2, Disc. 3. Prerequisite: O-T 405, 413. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 465*     Cr. 4
Occupations and Aging
Occupational performance in the aging population will be explored with emphasis on the impact of disease or injury in the aged population.  Specific focus will be on analysis of the socio-cultural, environmental and personal life roles of the elderly as well as those disease/ dysfunction processes that frequently impact this population. Students will practice the occupational process of observation, evaluation, analysis and treatment of this population in clinical and community fieldwork experiences. Lect. 2, Lab. 3. Prerequisite: O-T 464. Offered   Sem. II. 

O-T 466*     Cr. 2
Occupational Therapy Practice II
This course serves as the laboratory component for O-T 465. Students will be exposed to assessment and intervention techniques applicable to the elderly population. To be taken concurrently with O-T 465. Lab. 4. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T 470*     Cr. 2
Capstone Seminar in Occupational Therapy
A seminar-style course designed for students to review and discuss basic concepts necessary for a career in occupational therapy and to assess their major in occupational therapy.  This course will cover basic concepts of resume and cover letter writing, supervision issues, credentialing processes, and current topics in occupational therapy. Students are expected to actively participate in an assessment of their major, and participate in discussions on major issues and developments in occupational therapy.  Prerequisite: admission to O-T program, senior standing. Recommended for seniors in the final semester. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T 471*     Cr. 2
Research and Symposium in Occupational Therapy
Clinical study under the direction and supervision of a member of the occupational therapy faculty. This course will allow the student to pursue a choice for additional in-depth study in a specialty area under faculty guidance. Formal presentation of findings to a peer professional group will occur. Prerequisite: O-T 410. Offered Sem. II. 

O-T 472/572 Cr. 2
Occupational Therapy Intervention: Group Dynamics
This course will provide students with a foundation in basic therapeutic communication skills. Models of group leadership used in occupational therapy treatment will be emphasized. Topics will include basic styles of communication, stages of team building, group leadership in therapy, development of therapeutic use of self, conflict resolution, conflict negotiation, professional behaviors, supervision of occupational therapy staff and occupational therapy group models used in treatment. Lect. 1, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T graduate program. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T 473/573 Cr. 1
Level 1 Fieldwork: Mental Illness
This mental health 30- hour field experience is designed to provide an opportunity to practice occupational therapy interventions for individuals who have mental health disorders. Beginning professional abilities, observation and initial data gathering skills will be practiced. Fieldwork will be arranged by the occupational therapy fieldwork coordinator and supervised by instructional staff. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T graduate program. Offered Sem. II. Pass/fail grading. 

O-T 474/574 Cr. 3
Occupations and Interventions: Pediatrics I
This is the first course in a two-semester sequence of the study of occupational therapy as it applies to the pediatric population. Occupations of childhood and adolescence will be critically examined and compared/contrasted with occupations of those children/adolescents with conditions that affect typical functioning. The OT process (referral, assessment, treatment, etc.) will be examined and applied using various assessment tools, frames of reference, and treatment approaches. The interaction of the child, play as occupation, family, and environment, including the impact of culture, will be stressed throughout. The influence and interaction of larger social contexts (public laws, social institutions, community resources, etc.) and their relationship to services for children and families also will be examined. Lect. 2, Lab. 2. Prerequisite: admission to the O-T graduate program. Offered Sem. I. 

O-T     480* Cr. 3-12
This Level II fieldwork experience provides the student with a twelve-week clinical placement in a practice setting under the supervision of a university supervisor and an approved practicing therapist. Students are challenged to apply concepts and theories of occupational therapy practice in a full-time fieldwork placement. Students are required to complete six months of full time fieldwork within 24 months of the didactic portion of the curriculum. Repeatable for credit — no maximum. Prerequisite: completion of requirements in O-T program. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading.  

O-T     499 Cr. 1-3
Independent Study 
Independent study under the direction and supervision of a member of the occupational therapy faculty. Activities related to occupational therapy including additional independent research may be pursued. Prerequisite: admission by consent of the instructor. Repeatable for credit—maximum 6.  

*Courses will not be offered after Sem. I, 2006 due to program conversion to graduate level.


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