What is Occupational Therapy?
Many people may have heard of Occupational Therapy or maybe know an Occupational Therapist but donâ€™t really understand what Occupational Therapy (OT) is exactly. In this section I will try my level best to explain what Occupational Therapy is in very simple terms.
The American Occupational Therapy Association executive board (1976) defined Occupational Therapy as:Â “The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play activities to increase development and prevent disability. It may include adaptation of task or environment to achieve maximum independence and to enhance the quality of life.”
First, letâ€™s define the word â€˜occupationâ€™, which is the root of Occupational Therapy as a profession.Â So the dictionary definition of occupation is; an activity engaged in especially as a means of passing time; a vocation.
The Occupational Therapy school of thought then divides our means of passing time into three categories namely;Â self-care, leisure and work.
|Means of passing time||Adults||ChildrenÂ|
|1. Self-care||sleeping, eating, grooming, dressing and toileting||sleeping, eating, grooming, dressing and toileting|
|2. work||Paid or non-paid work||school work for children, homework, handwriting tasks, listening to teacher, following instructions etc.|
|3. Leisure||time spent on activities they enjoy e.g. a hobby, TV, socializing, sports, “chilling out”, reading, writing, listening to music, travelÂ ling||Free play time|
If you reflect on this information you will notice that any task that you perform at any time will fall into any one of these three categories.
The Dictionary defines â€˜therapyâ€™ as the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process.
At any point in our lives (whether present at birth or at a later time), illness, injury or disability may prevent us from effectively or independently functioning in one or more “occupational” areas (leisure/play, work/school work and self-care).
The Occupational Therapist is specially trained to provide intervention which will help you regain function and reach your optimum level of independence in performing your daily living tasks (work, play/leisure and self-care).
Because each individual and family is unique, Occupational Therapy treatment programs will vary from person to person according to their individual needs.