What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational therapy assists people in developing the "skills for the job of living" necessary for independent and satisfying lives.
Occupational therapy focuses on enabling people to do the activities of daily life. The very word "occupation" - means an activity which "occupies" our time. A child in grade school has the occupation of learning. An adult may need to learn how to write after a traumatic injury. A senior may want to continue driving safely in order to stay active in their community. All of these things are occupations and participating in them is vital to maintaining overall health and wellness.
About OT Practitioners
Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals whose education includes the study of human growth and development with specific emphasis on the social, emotional, and physiological effects of illness and injury.
The occupational therapist enters the field with a master's or doctoral degree. The occupational therapy assistant generally earns an associate degree.
Practitioners must complete supervised clinical internships in a variety of health care settings, and pass a national examination. Most states also regulate occupational therapy practice.
OT Services: How Occupational Therapy Benefits You
Services typically include:
- Customized treatment programs to improve one's ability to perform daily activities
- Comprehensive home and job site evaluations with adaptation recommendations
- Performance skills assessments and treatment
- Adaptive equipment recommendations and usage training
- Guidance to family members and caregivers
Some of the health conditions that benefit from occupational therapy include:
- Work-related injuries including lower back problems or repetitive stress injuries
- Limitations following a stroke or heart attack
- Arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or other serious chronic conditions
- Birth injuries, learning problems, or developmental disabilities
- Mental health or behavioral problems including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress
- Problems with substance use or eating disorders
- Burns, spinal cord injuries, or amputations
- Broken bones or other injuries from falls, sports injuries, or accidents
- Vision or cognitive problems that threaten the ability to drive