What do Occupational Therapists Do?

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy empowers and enables people of all ages to push through limitations in their daily lives—physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually—so they can do more and live better.

Occupational therapists (OTs for short) are trained in both physical and mental health. They can offer a wide range of services to empower and enable clients to achieve maximum independence over a lifespan.

Who do OTs treat?

Occupational therapists serve people with injury, illness, disability or psychological dysfunction. They work side by side, planning with the client, family or caregiver. Together they find the best path to meaning, balance and progress. Through evaluation and treatment, OTs improve their clients’ capacity to participate in meaningful daily activities.

How do OTs help?

Daily activities include the skills required for the “job of living.” (This is where the word “occupation” comes from in occupational therapy!) OTs focus on the activities that give daily life meaning and the ways a client can achieve a new level of independence. Whether it’s bathing, eating, grooming, dressing, cooking, driving, cleaning, working, leisure or learning, OTs help people function. Keep in mind this is not a conclusive list, an OT can tailor treatment to meet anyone’s needs and interests.

If a client fulfills their needs and purposes – looking after themselves, enjoying life, and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their community – then the partnership with the OT has truly succeeded.

Client Age Range chart from the 2021-2022 Annual Report
Area of Practice chart from the 2021-2022 Annual Report