Occupational Therapy Assistant


Erie Community College meets the needs of a diverse student body and contributes to regional economic vitality by providing excellent, flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in a multi-campus environment committed to continuous improvement.

Core Values

Student Focused - Service to students is the primary reason for ECC's existence. The student is at the center of all SUNY ECC programs and services.

Accessibility - SUNY ECC serves the needs and wants of all students, including those not having educational opportunity elsewhere. Access means inclusion by overcoming financial, location, physical, language or other impediments.

Academic Excellence - We expect academic rigor in all curricula and from all students. We believe that quality teaching with comprehensive support results in positive learning outcomes and student achievement.

Openness and Respect - A broad range of cultures, attitudes, and viewpoints creates an environment of respect, caring, and trust. Everyone, no matter their limitations, should be recognized for their intrinsic dignity and unique capabilities.

Commitment to Our Profession - With integrity and accountability, we are committed to providing a high-quality, multifaceted, state-of-the-art curriculum and learning resources that reflect current, applied and emerging areas of occupational therapy practice, and exceed the standards of our profession's accrediting body. We are also committed to playing a visible and active role in our regional occupational therapy professional community.

Commitment to Our Community - Through our relationships with employers, clinical fieldwork affiliates and the community-at-large, we are committed to serving our community by promoting occupational therapy as an important contributor to health, function and well-being, and by graduating highly qualified occupational therapy assistants who will meet the dynamic health care, human service, wellness and rehabilitation employment demands in Western New York.

Program Philosophy

Our program philosophy reflects the following overarching values of occupational therapy. It includes our belief about how adult students learn.

Humans, intrinsically motivated by personal values and aspirations, and extrinsically directed by environmental demands, inherently engage in a variety of occupations. We place value on the volition of individuals we work with. Therefore, volition must be encouraged and supported through therapeutic relationship, emphasis on patient/client choice and involvement, and respect for the values, culture and beliefs of patients/clients.

Occupations are "Activities...of everyday life, named, organized and given value and meaning by individuals and a culture" (Law, Polatajko, Baptiste and Townsend, 1997). Through self-selected occupations that are relevant, meaningful and therapeutic, humans have the capacity to influence their physical and mental health, their social and physical environments. In occupational therapy, we use occupations which have intrinsic and extrinsic value; occupations that have immediate and long-term therapeutic benefits.

Adaptation is a change in function that promotes survival and self-actualization. By engaging in meaningful occupations, humans adapt to a variety of contexts. The capability or capacity to adapt is characteristic of health and wellness. Our focus is on finding ways to help individuals adapt to changing social, physical, cultural, personal, spiritual, temporal and virtual contexts.

Occupations, and consequently, adaptation, may be interrupted at any time during the lifespan by biological, psychological and environmental barriers, resulting in dysfunction. The focus of occupational therapy personnel, process and technology is to enable humans, in spite of biological, psychological or environmental barriers, to gain, maintain or regain the capacity and volition to adapt by engaging in meaningful occupations. We enable adaptation through remediation, compensation, education and encouragement. In addition to enabling adaptation, occupational therapy faculty maintains core values of the profession to include: beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy/confidentiality, autonomy/confidentiality, duty, procedural justice, veracity and fidelity (AOTA, 2005).

Mary Reilly, an early leader in the occupational therapy profession, reflects the values of the profession in the simple, yet profound statement: "Man, through the use of his hands, as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health" (1962).

Our department has the following beliefs about learning. Learning is a dynamic process which develops over a time continuum. Learning promotes cognitive and affective maturation.

Cognitive maturation is the "development of an internal process by which learners select ways of attending, learning, remembering, or thinking to develop creative problem solving and thinking" (Gagne 1992). We promote problem solving and critical thinking by building complex learning on the simple and abstract learning on the concrete. Learning develops within a hierarchy from general information acquisition to concept formation to problem solving. For cognitive strategies to be learned the students must engage in developing solutions to problems, learning new attitudes and be exposed to role models.

Students have the potential to discover meaning and connect that meaning to their career and their lives. They bring with them a set of acquired attitudes and behaviors. We believe that attitudes and behaviors can be changed; or a new set of behaviors can be learned. Behavioral development encompasses the promotion of receiving, responding, valuing, organizing, and acting consistently with values one has internalized (Krathwohl's affective taxonomy, 1964).

We believe behavioral growth and cognitive maturation of students are equally important. Through confidence building, feedback and self-reflective assessment activities, we are able to progress the student through the cognitive and behavioral learning continuums.

Did You Know?

ECC is a member of the State University of New York (SUNY) System, and is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Many of the professional curricula are also accredited by specialized agencies.


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