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News from Member Organisations September 2023 - Italy

The new Executive Committee took office in April, with Gabriella Casu as president and Rachele Simeon as Italian delegate for COTEC and WFOT. The Executive Committee will remain in office for three years. For this period, it has been proposed to activate research groups that will start in the fall in order to foster the development and consolidation of paths of growth and exchange. The main research topic of the working groups will be "Assessment in Occupational Therapy (OT)", as it is very heterogeneous in our country. The goal is to provide Italian therapists with comprehensive knowledge of validated and culturally adapted tools in our language and researchers with possible instruments to validate in our context.

OT in Italy belongs to the class of rehabilitation professions and it is the second in terms of employment after the bachelor's degree. Unfortunately, there are still few universities offering the Occupational Therapy degree program, and the training potential is insufficient to meet demand. We are working to increase the visibility of the profession and best practices through social and other communication channels.

Our membership has the opportunity to participate in monthly webinars on different areas and with Italian and international practitioners. Last May, the national conference dedicated to the role of the Occupational Therapist in developmental age was held in Catania, Sicily. The choice of the city was not accidental: in fact, a degree program was recently opened in Catania. Professionals from different disciplines participated, thus promoting the profession and fostering a network among colleagues.

AITO is participating as a stakeholder in the drafting work of several guidelines. Occupational therapists have been included in the national guidelines for ataxia and in reference documents for various diseases such as, for example, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and muscular dystrophies.

In September, we will be hosting a workshop by Annie Carrier, on our role as agents of change, to also improve Advocacy and have more tools to promote accessibility to occupational therapy services, which has so far been reduced both by the scarcity of therapists in the area and by the lack of knowledge the population has about our profession.

We hope that we can, in this new term, do something concrete to improve this situation, including bringing our membership closer to scientific research.

To learn about our progress, we invite you to follow us on our social (link)