THE PROFESSION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
Occupation may be defined as
the ordinary things we do each day to work, to play, and to take care of
ourselves. Occupational therapy is based on the idea that our personal
identity and feeling of value is closely tied to what we are able to do.
Each of us chooses many "occupational" roles that are important to us
and make us excited to engage in life. We may, for example, choose
occupational roles of "parent", "homemaker", "student", "athlete", etc.,
with many tasks in each that are important for us to carry out
independently. When our function becomes impaired in these roles, we may
lose both our independence and our sense of self-worth. Occupational
Therapy is the art and science of helping people achieve independence
with, and through, the use of everyday activities. It focuses on those
aspects that give quality and purpose to performance.
The practice of occupational
therapy utilizes the therapeutic use of purposeful and meaningful
occupations in treatment, as well as focusing on these occupations as
the goal of treatment. OT intervention may include: restoration of
performance abilities; instruction in compensatory techniques;
adaptation of tasks, processes, or environments; disability prevention
techniques; design, fabrication and use of Assistive technology and/or
orthotic devices; and health and wellness promotion strategies.
Occupational therapy assistants, under the supervision of an
occupational therapist, will work directly with persons to achieve a
maximum level of independent living by developing the capacities that
remain after disease, accident, or other disability.
The occupational therapy
practitioner works with people who are limited by physical injury or
illness, psychosocial dysfunction, developmental or learning
disabilities, poverty and cultural differences, or the aging process in
order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health.
The profession tailors rehabilitation individually for each client .
Through evaluation and treatment, it seeks to restore or improve
function in occupational performance. Treatment is provided within the
context of the client's life environments and relationships and is
guided by the concerns of the patient. Functional performance is
considered within the areas of work, self-care, and leisure; with
treatment developed to minimize the effects of disability and maximize
The occupational therapy
assistant is an integral part of the rehabilitation team focused on
providing optimum patient care. Occupational therapy assistants,
supervised by occupational therapists, possess the technical skills to
provide services to individuals of all ages who have physical,
psychological, or developmental disabilities; which may include but are
not limited to those suffering from strokes, heart diseases, arthritis,
diabetes, serious burns, spinal cord injuries, and psychiatric
disorders. Occupational therapy serves a diverse population in a variety
of settings such as hospitals and clinics, rehabilitation facilities,
long-term care facilities, extended care facilities, sheltered
workshops, schools and camps, private homes, and community agencies.