Indiana State University
Occupational Therapy Student
The purpose of the essential functions
document is to identify basic functions required for
successful completion of an occupational therapy program
(didactic and fieldwork components).
Applicants and students who are unable to complete
these functions are encouraged to contact the Center for
Student Success at Indiana State University
Upon successful completion of this
program, A Master of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy
signifies that the holder is eligible to sit for the
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy
(NBCOT) Examination and signifies that the holder is
prepared for entry into the profession of occupational
follows that graduates must have knowledge and skills to
function in a broad variety of clinical, community, or
school based situations and to render a wide spectrum of
occupational therapy services. Therefore, the following
abilities and expectations must be met by all students
admitted to the Occupational Therapy Program at Indiana
Demands: Participating as a student requires functional
use of vision, hearing, and touch along with awareness of
body position and movement. Specific visual skills required
include near and far vision, peripheral vision, color
vision, and depth perception. Information from the sensory
systems must be accurately perceived and interpreted to
provide quality of client care.
The successful occupational therapy student maintains a high
level of alertness and responsiveness during classroom and
fieldwork situations. The student must possess the ability
to focus on a task for a prolonged period of time to allow
for successful learning to take place. In addition, the
occupational therapist must be able to recall information
and organize information in an efficient and useful manner.
This included the ability to acquire, retain, and prioritize
informational data, conceptualize and integrate abstract
information, apply theoretical knowledge to specific client
populations and justify a rationale for therapeutic
interventions, and problem-solve to create innovative and
The successful occupational therapy student must possess
sufficient motor abilities to allow for treatment
intervention with a variety of clients. This includes
functional use of all four extremities which would allow the
student to carry out assessments and to provide therapeutic
interventions. Quick reactions are necessary not only for
safety, but for one to respond therapeutically, in most
clinical situations. The student also needs to demonstrate
good mobility skills including the ability to walk, climb,
stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl to allow for one to complete
therapeutic interventions on all types of surfaces. The
student is regularly required to maintain positions for
extended periods of time such as sitting, standing and
writing. The student frequently is required to demonstrate
good arm placement to allow for reaching and positioning of
hands to successfully manipulate large and small objects.
The student must regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds.
The student must occasionally lift and/or move more than 100
Physical endurance must be sufficient for the provision of
direct, hands-on patient treatments for 6 or more hours per
The student must display the emotional maturity to interact
with a variety of individuals with diverse age, diagnoses,
culture, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The student
frequently needs to address multiple, demanding tasks
simultaneously and therefore needs to have established
strategies for stress management.
Written: The student must be able to effectively communicate in
written English. The format can range from a brief note with
appropriate use of abbreviations to a descriptive narrative.
Verbal and Nonverbal: The student must be able to produce the spoken
word and to interpret factual information along with
nonverbal cues of mood, temperament, and social responses
from clients, supervisors, and peers. Response to
emergencies / crisis situations, as well as more routine
communication must be appropriate to the situation.
Communication must be accurate, sensitive, and effective.
Reading: The student must be able to read and comprehend information
in English from a variety of written sources (e.g.
textbooks, professional journals, medical/school records,
and government regulations).
The occupational therapy student must be able to negotiate
and successfully achieve access to multiple environmental
situations. These environmental situations may be physical,
social, or cultural.
The physical environment would consist
of nonhuman aspects. The student is occasionally exposed to
wet or humid conditions (non-weather); work near moving
mechanical parts, fumes or airborne particles, hazardous
materials, blood-borne pathogens, outdoor weather
conditions, risk of electrical shock, risk of radiation, and
vibration. The noise level in the work environment will
range from a classroom situation in which the noise level is
low to an industrial or clinical environment where then
noise level may be high.
The social environment would consist of
norms, expectations, and routines of different environments.
The occupational therapy student will be exposed to multiple
treatment environments which have implicit and explicit
rules for behavior.
The occupational therapy student must
demonstrate multicultural competency skills to allow for one
to function within multiple client populations.
Multicultural competency skills as outlined by the American
Occupational Therapy Association include awareness of one’s
culture, willingness to explore and become knowledgeable
about another culture, being respectful to individual
diversities, and being able to select culturally sensitive
Behaviors: The student is expected to demonstrate
professional behaviors and attitudes during his/her
participation in the classroom and clinical settings. This
includes, but is not limited to: commitment to learning,
dependability, written and verbal communication,
interpersonal skills, professionalism, cooperation, clinical
reasoning, and intrapersonal coping skills. The student will
be rated routinely and mentored by occupational therapy
faculty on professional behaviors. Students must be able to
give and receive constructive criticism. Responsiveness to
criticism from faculty, clinical instructors, and peers is
essential for success.
description above is intended to reflect the essential
functions in a general manner. It is not all-inclusive, and
is not a contract, expressed or implied. The description
also attempts to describe functions in multiple contexts
from the didactic experience to the fieldwork experience.
Keeping this in mind some essential functions may increase
or decrease depending on the context.
Students having concern regarding their ability to meet
these essential functions must contact the Disability
Services at Indiana State University
Accommodations may be
arranged through this office.
Updated and Modified from Newman University 1996