Occupational Therapists (OT’s) help people at all stages of life, with a focus on increasing their participation in the things they need to do, and the things they want to do. Often confused with occupational health and safety, or work rehabilitation, an OT considers not only work environments, but all environments that their client might interact with, for example, their home, school, and community.
The goal of occupational therapy is to find the perfect balance between the skills of the person, their chosen occupation or activity, and the environmental set up. To achieve this goal, occupational therapists conduct extensive assessments with their clients, to gain insight into their personal skills and qualities, and to analyse where this person, environmental and occupational interaction could be going wrong.
Therapy with an OT is client centred, and always conducted with an end goal in mind. Occupational therapists maintain a holistic perspective at all times, and consider all elements of their client’s life, while keeping up to date with recent research, in order to ensure that treatment approaches are evidence based. Therapy may consist of physical rehabilitation and remediation, adjustments of the occupation and the way it is carried out, or modifying the environment to better support the client.
Common occupational therapy intervention could involve anything from helping children with disabilities and delays to participate in school and social activities, designing exercise programs for patients post neurological incident, or assessing the home environment to make physical modifications that allow an elderly client remain living safely at home for as long as possible.