Occupational therapy provides the skills for the job of living and solves the problems that interfere with peoples’ ability to do the activities or occupations that are important to them. These problems may be a result of injury, disease, social disadvantage, or the environment.
Occupation refers to the activities and tasks of daily life that have value and meaning to a person. Occupations can include self-care (i.e. personal care, mobility), leisure (i.e. social activities, sports) and productivity (play, school, employment, homemaking). If you are unable to do the things you want, or need to do, to live and to enjoy your life, then your general well-being may be affected.
Occupational therapists work with people of any age to promote health, prevent disability, and develop or maintain abilities. Occupational therapists are specialists in the analysis, adaptation and therapeutic use of occupations, to achieve goals jointly determined by the therapist and the client, in the context of their own home and community.
In simple terms, an occupational therapist may assist a client to:
- learn new ways of doing things (ie: dress or cook with one arm after a stroke)
- adapt materials or equipment they use(ie: built up pencils and special seating for a child to attend school
- make changes to their environment (ie: negotiate with an employer for a gradual return-to-work plan following a motor vehicle accident)
Canadian occupational therapists are known worldwide for their client-centred approach. The knowledge, experience and self-determination of the client are valued in the practice of occupational therapy.
(adapted with permission from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists)
Medicine adds days to life
Occupational therapy adds life to days