Occupational Therapist

The Ability Center (ACT) is a non-profit Center for Independent Living serving seven counties in NW Ohio. With the assistance of competent, professional staff, and the support of volunteers, ACT works for the rights and concerns of people living with disabilities on local, state, regional, and national levels. Our mission is to advocate, educate, partner, and provide services supporting people with disabilities to thrive within their community.

Position Summary: The Occupational Therapist (OT) will provide occupational services to individuals with disabilities. They will meet with clients interested in Assistance Dogs’ programming and those who wish to participate in agility dog training. The OT will confer with training staff to determine eligibility for programming. Once approved, they will help conduct needs assessments and advise clients on how to prepare for classes. They will collaborate with other staff on curriculum development for workshops, classes, and trainings. The OT will provide consistent follow-up with clients including certification and recertification testing.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Agility Dog Programming

  • Develop and maintain curriculum-based classes for students and dogs participating in agility training classes.
  • Implement evidence-based practices, including universal supports, and visual cues.
  • Administer, score, and interpret standardized assessments, data, and outcome measurements.
  • Develop on-boarding procedures for new students participating in agility programming.
  • Evaluate students and dogs, and determine appropriate matches, and class participation.
  • Collaborate with training staff on coaching and training for students and other participants.
  • Create visual aids, and other training materials necessary for program success.
  • Manage all client communications typically via e-mail, phone, or social media.
  • Assist with the development of program forms including applications, needs assessments, goal reviews, and handler forms.
  • Assist with the management of program billing, tracking student fees, receipts, invoices, and fundraising.
  • Assist with recruitment for students, parent groups, and other community organizations to participate in programming.

Facility Dog Programming

  • Responsible for scheduling and conducting initial interviews for facilities applying for therapy dogs.
  • Conduct home visits to ensure a safe home environment for the dog and make appropriate recommendations.
  • Collaborate with staff to determine facility matches for upcoming classes.
  • Communicate with facilities/handlers to provide feedback and updates on training process.
  • Assist, schedule and conduct final needs assessment with clients to determine requirements, and equipment needs for the dog.
  • Assist with school/facility dog team training, and workshops.
  • Assist with Assistance Dogs International Accreditation as it relates to facility dog placements.
  • Responsible for compliance of accreditation standards with Assistance Dogs as it relates to facility dog placements.
  • Conduct annual facility dog recertification.
  • Create client files, enter facility/handler information into database system, and keep information updated and current.
Requirements: Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) with at least 3 years’ experience in a school setting, or Licensed Occupational Therapist.  Prefer experience and ability to collect and analyze dog behavior, and training data, to make recommendations for continuous program improvement. Prefer an understanding of disability, including autism, and other cognitive delays. Support the application of person-centered practices. Must be able to comprehend canine learning theories, possess up-to-date knowledge of and understand canine behavior. Able to lead and guide a team to ensure training standards and tasks assigned are met. Must have the ability to listen and make informed decisions. Must be proficient with data management and report program outcomes. Must be able to communicate well verbally and through written correspondence. Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Ability to do presentations and public speaking. Must have a professional attitude and appearance.

Essential Physical Demands: The essential physical demands described here must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. The employee in this position may need to remain stationary for periods of time while working in a workstation, office, or at a desk. The employee will operate/use a phone, computer, copier, and printer. The employee will also frequently communicate with others and may do so in various ways as able. They may converse, convey, and exchange accurate information via phone, text, written, e-mail, or face to face. The employee may frequently move from one office space to another, meeting spaces, and occasionally from one building to another. When training and taking care of dogs, the employee is required to be very physically active. The employee is often on her or his feet and is often required to escort visitors or volunteers in or around the kennel, play yards and training areas; climb and balance; go up and down stairs; and utilize elevators. The employee must be able to manipulate and use all equipment and tools necessary to care for and transport dogs, including leashes, medicines, locking medicines, balance harnesses, wheelchairs, and clickers used for training. The employee must regularly lift and move up to 25 pounds.

ACT is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals and do not discriminate. The Ability Center is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. All candidates must pass an FBI/BCII background check, drug screen, if position is offered. 

The Ability Center is a family friendly work environment offering comprehensive compensation and benefit package. Full time employees are eligible health insurance, a generous paid time off package, including vacation, sick, goal days, and holiday pay. 2

To apply for this position, please visit https://www.abilitycenter.org/news/employmentopportunities/