Occupational Therapy In A Nutshell
By Angana Vaishnav, OTD, OTR/L
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a client centered healthcare profession that focuses on an individual’s overall well-being and enhances their ability to participate in their daily occupations and/or activities that add meaning to their lives.
An individual’s occupations not only include their job but also include their daily activities like self-care, dressing, eating, driving and community mobility, play, leisure, sleep, meal preparation and social participation.
What does an Occupational Therapist do?
Occupational therapists play a significant role in the areas of mental health, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, vocational rehabilitation, and aged care. They are an important part of a rehabilitation team as they focus on helping an individual gain functional independence following an injury, illness or disability and integrate them into the community.
Occupational therapy services typically include:
“Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science”. (American Occupational Therapy Association).
Who would benefit from Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapists work in a variety of areas and with a vast age range. Therefore, an individual that is being hampered by their illness, disability, or injury to fully engage in their daily activities would benefit from consulting with an occupational therapist. The individual as well as the people involved in the individual’s care work together with the therapist to help the individual engage in their daily tasks and adapting the environment/task as needed to maximize the individual’s participation.
Following are some practice areas identified by the American Occupational Therapy Association in which occupational therapists can support and details regarding the challenges/diagnoses they work with in each area have also been discussed below.
American Occupational Therapy Association: https://www.aota.org/Practice.aspx
World Federation of Occupational Therapy: https://wfot.org/about/about-occupational-therapy