What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health professionals that work with individuals of all ages and conditions.  Some people may think that occupational therapy is only for adults (as kids after all, do not have occupations).  However, ‘occupations’ are the everyday activities that individual’s both want and need to do.  Occupational therapy aims to maximize an individual’s independence, prevent disability, enrich development, and overall enhance quality of life.

Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective.  They focus on adapting the environment to fit the person, where the person is an integral part of the therapy team.  Therefore, OT’s not only address an individual’s physical well-being, they also address psychological, social, cognitive, visual, and environmental factors that can affect functioning in different ways.   OT’s identify an individual’s functional abilities in the above areas, within different environments, to determine his/her strengths and limitations.  OT’s then select tasks that will improve the individual’s basic skills and make recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use.  OT’s also provide guidance and education for family members and caregivers with the ultimate goal of the individuals being able to participate in his/her desired ‘occupations’.