Trenton, NJ – August 5, 2016. American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and New Jersey Occupational Therapy Association (NJOTA) were notified that two COTAs in New Jersey were fired for not holding school certification. Delegates from NJOTA and AOTA held a meeting with John Worthington, the acting director of the Office of Special Education at the Department of Education (DOE); and Jesse Young, legislative liaison of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Education. Delegates consisted of Chuck Willmarth, the director of Health Policy and State Affairs of AOTA; Tracie DeSarno, lobbyist of Public Strategies Impact (PSI); Debbie Rider, practice chair of NJOTA; and Miriam Manela, legislation co-chair of NJOTA. All members present at the meeting cleared up the confusion and came to an agreement with the understanding that COTAs do not need school certification, but an occupational therapist (OT) is required to have one.
As a legislation co-chair of NJOTA and a practicing OT, Miriam Manela has advocated for OTs and COTAs and will continue to do so.
“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information. When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions”
~ Atifete Jahjaga