Essential Functions: Occupational Therapy Assistant

During the course of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, students must demonstrate the ability to perform the functions listed below safely, reliably, and efficiently.

Disability Act Statement: Madison College complies with all provisions of the American with Disabilities Act and makes reasonable accommodations upon request for qualified individuals. If you believe you may need accommodations to assist you in performing the functions listed below, please contact the Disability Resources Services (DRS) office at (608)246-6716 or (800)322-6282 ext. 6716 (deaf students via Relay 711) or email(link sends e-mail).

Critical Thinking: Demonstrates critical thinking ability sufficient to make appropriate judgments within the occupational therapy process.

  • Generalizes knowledge from college education and previous learning to new work contexts
  • Identifies cause and effect relationships in work contexts
  • Demonstrates ability to assess client status on an ongoing basis
  • Plans interventions that are relevant and realistic within treatment context
  • Sets realistic expectations to meet goals
  • Makes informed practice decisions based on published research and relevant informational resources
  • Identifies strategies for problem-solving
  • Obtains relevant information to evaluate

Problem Solving: Demonstrates ability to problem solve within the occupational therapy process.

  • Monitors the responses of others and makes adjustments to interventions as needed in therapy and other work situations
  • Demonstrates initiative in seeking relevant resources when changing interventions
  • Exhibits creativity in meeting diverse client needs
  • Demonstrates ability to multi-task at a level that meets productivity requirements and client needs within the work context
  • Accurately and efficiently follows directions


  • Exhibits academic honesty
  • Demonstrates the ability to maintain appropriate boundaries within work interactions as related to personal ethical values and biases


  • Anticipates potentially hazardous situations and takes steps to prevent accidents
  • Consistently adheres to safety regulations
  • Follows established safety procedures accurately (i.e., universal precautions, chemical safety, HIPPA)
  • Uses safety equipment materials correctly

Verbal/Nonverbal Communications: Clearly and effectively communicates verbally and nonverbally with clients, families, significant others, service providers and the public.

  • Clearly communicates the value of occupational therapy and the specifics of the OT process to varied audiences
  • Communicates the roles of the occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant

Written Communications: Produces clear and accurate documentation according to site requirements.

  • All writing is legible, using proper spelling, punctuation and grammar

Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates interpersonal skills to develop positive relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

  • Consistently acts with respect and empathy
  • Varies therapeutic approach in accordance with the needs and background of individuals
  • Effectively interacts with clients to facilitate accomplishment of established goals
  • Responds to the relationship needs of others while performing multiple tasks within a limited time frame
  • Performs effectively under stress
  • Recognizes own stress levels and seeks assistance appropriately
  • Displays flexibility

Physical Performance Skills: Demonstrates sufficient physical abilities to perform tasks in an accurate, safe and efficient manner as related to the occupational therapy role within the facility.

  • Demonstrates sufficient fine and gross motor skills to meet intervention needs and participate in facility functions
  • Able to care for personal needs within context of occupational therapy role
  • Demonstrates sufficient sensory awareness to recognize and respond to client needs and safety factors
  • Demonstrates sensory processing to consistently locate relevant data and apply it to work situations

Professional Behaviors: Demonstrates professional behaviors related to the occupational therapy assistant role.

  • Takes responsibility for attaining professional competence by seeking out learning opportunities and interactions with others
  • Responds constructively to feedback
  • Demonstrates consistent work behaviors including dependability, preparedness and work site maintenance
  • Effectively manages time, including punctuality and meeting deadlines
  • Demonstrates respect for diversity factors of others including, but not limited to socio-cultural, socioeconomic, spiritual and lifestyle choices