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Living Life to Its Fullest-What is OT?

The World Federation of Occupational Therapists provides the following definition of Occupational Therapy:"Occupational therapy is as a profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life.Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by enabling people to do things that will enhance their ability to participate or by modifying the environment to better support participation."

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association,“Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent—or live better with—illness, injury or disability.“

Occupational therapy has it’s roots in the field of psychology.In fact, that is where the name “occupational” originates.It refers to occupation in the broad sense of the word, meaning everything we do each day. As life often happens, people are met with challenges, illnesses, and disabilities that affect the manner in which daily tasks are performed.Occupational therapists help people gain and restore abilities in the areas of self-care skills, work or academics skills, and play or leisure skills.Every person has a desire of independence and occupational therapist help people achieve independence.

When working with children, occupational therapists focus on the main occupation of a child, play. In order to perform the occupation of play children need to have motor skills, sensory development, social interaction, and cognition. Occupational therapists work with each of these areas to help children develop the skills necessary to perform play activities.


Another occupation of a child is academics.Children spend much of their childhood in a classroom learning academic and work skills.In order to participate in school, children need to be able to perform tasks such as sitting ina  desk, attending to tasks for extended periods of time, transitioning from one task to another, following multi-step directions, performing motor skills such as handwriting, and learning.Occupational therapist can help get the root of the problem in many children who have difficulties in school.


Occupational therapist also address daily living skills including dressing, grooming, and feeding. Each of these tasks require a complex combination of motor skills, cognition, sequencing, and sensory integration to complete. OTs use various theories and therapeutic practice to help children reach developmental milestones and independence in self-care activities.

Occupational therapist are experts at task analysis, breaking down a task into each part needed to have a successful end product. They work in a variety of treatment settings including hospitals, private clinics, schools, preschools, and in the home. Pediatric occupational therapist work with children from birth to 21 years with a variety of developmental or acquired disabilities including diagnosis such as autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, Asperger’s Syndrome, DevelopmentalCoordination Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, chromosomal anomalies, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, seizure disorder and other disorders that affect a child’s development.

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