Technical Standards / Essential Functions

It is the goal of the Emory & Henry College Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program (OTD) to produce competent clinicians of occupational therapy who perform as occupation-centered general practitioners providing quality care to a variety of patients across the lifespan.

Therefore, in addition to scholastic achievement, applicants will be judged on their physical, intellectual, and emotional aptitude to complete the essential requirements of the program.

Fundamental skills that are necessary to complete the essential requirements of the Emory & Henry Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Program include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Observation: Observation requires the functional use of vision and other sensory modalities. Students must be able to observe/participate in lecture and laboratory demonstrations, as well as accurately observe patients up close and at a distance (taking note of verbal and non-verbal signals).
  2. Communication: Communication includes not only speech, but also reading, writing, and computer literacy. Students must effectively and sensitively communicate with patients to elicit and transmit information concerning changes in mood and activities, as well as perceive
    nonverbal signals. Students must also be able to effectively and efficiently communicate with various members of the healthcare community.
  3. Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function: Students must have gross motor, fine motor and equilibrium functions to properly perform patient assessments (i.e. palpation, auscultation, percussion, muscle testing, range of motion and other examination procedures) and to carry out occupational therapy interventions. Students must be able to execute motor movements required to provide general therapeutic intervention (i.e. patient transfers/positioning, exercise, performing manual mobilization techniques and applying modalities) and emergency treatment to patients. Quick reactions are essential for safety and therapeutic response. Such skills require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium and functional use of touch and vision.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Student occupational therapists must be able to effectively solve problems, which require them to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize information from various sources. Students must be able to perform these abilities in a timely manner, especially in emergency situations. Students must be able to synthesize knowledge and integrate relevant information of a patient’s history and examination findings to develop an effective intervention plan.
  5.  Behavioral and Social Attributes: Students must possess the emotional health/psychological ability required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities inherent to diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Students must be able to tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively while stressed. Students must be able to adapt to a changing environment, display flexibility and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of various patients. Students must demonstrate ethical behavior both in the classroom and during clinical experiences. Empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will also be assessed.
  6. Must be able to use a computer to access internet, E&H website, E&H moodle site, and writing papers and assignments for the program. 

If an applicant/student cannot demonstrate the above essential skills, it is the responsibility of the student to request appropriate accommodations. Emory & Henry College will provide reasonable accommodations for eligible students as long as accommodations do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program and do not impose an undue hardship such as those that cause a significant expense, difficulty or are unduly disruptive to the educational process. To determine eligibility for accommodations, students should contact Travis Proffitt at or 276-944-6670 or mail documentation, with cover letter explaining that you are a Doctor of Occupational Therapy student to:

Travis W. Proffitt

Dean of Student Success

Paul Adrian Powell, III Student Success Center

P.O. Box 947

Emory & Henry College

Emory, VA 24327


Students needing accommodations are encouraged to contact the Director of Academic Support Services as soon as possible after acceptance to the program; DISCLOSURE BEFORE BEING OFFERED ADMISSION IS NOT REQUIRED. Applicants/students with disabilities who meet the above technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, shall not be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, nor be subjected to discrimination in the Emory & Henry College Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program.