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Occupational Therapy & OT Directory

What Is Occupational Therapy?

The American Occupational Therapy Association executive board (1976) defines it as such: “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.”

One’s occupation can therefore be defined as the way in which we occupy our time. Thus, our time is divided into three categories of activities in which we take part daily:

  • Self-Care: sleeping, eating, grooming, dressing, and toileting
  • Work: effort that is exerted to do or make something, or perform a task
  • Leisure: free, unoccupied time in which one chooses to do something they enjoy, such as: a hobby, watching T.V., socializing, sports, to read or write, listen to music, travel, etc. If you read these very carefully, you will see that any task or use of our time during the day fits into one of these three categories.

This is critical to understand the meaning of the term “occupation”. Occupation is how we spend our time; whether paid or unpaid, restful or fun, obligation or choice and that which fulfills us, gives us purpose, and allows us to interact with, be productive, and function in the world around us to the best of our ability.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Occupational therapists use a variety of treatments and activities to facilitate skills needed to complete tasks of daily living for infants, children & adults in need. These activities may require remediation in several areas including fine motor, visual motor, visual perceptual, sensory processing and self-care skills.

When Is Occupational Therapy Needed?

Doctors often recommend occupational therapy for clients who have been injured or have limitations from an illness, disease, or disability. Occupational Therapy (OT) may be needed any time a child has difficulty in any areas of daily living activities.

Doctors may recommend OT for children with:

  • developmental delays
  • cerebral palsy
  • genetic disorders
  • sensory processing disorders
  • orthopedic disabilities
  • heart and lung conditions
  • birth defects (such as spina bifida)
  • effects of in-utero drug or alcohol exposure
  • acute trauma
  • head injury
  • limb deficiencies
  • muscle diseases

Occupational therapists might guide clients through:

  • developmental activities such as sitting, rolling, etc.
  • balance and bilateral coordination activities
  • adaptive play
  • sensory activities/sensory diet planning
  • handwriting activities
  • upper extremity strengthening activities
  • self-care activities such as dressing, grooming, etc
  • community activities such as cooking, purchasing, laundry, etc.

During a visit, an occupational therapist may:

  • measure the client’s tone and/or strength
  • identify potential and existing problems
  • consult with other medical, psychiatric, and school personnel about an individual education plan
  • provide instructions for home exercise programs
  • recommend a home sensory program

Special Techniques: Aquatics, Pediatric Massage, Neuro-developmental Techniques, Sport Injuries, Yoga, Orthotics, Equipment Needs, Wound Care, Kinesiotaping, E- Stimulation, Hippotherapy

Where does therapy come in?

If, at any point in our lives whether present at birth or onset at a later time due to illness, injury or disability prevents us from effectively or independently functioning in one or more “occupational” areas, then Occupational Therapy can help to provide intervention which will help you or your child regain function, maintain level of functioning, or make accommodations for any deficits you may be experiencing.

Special Techniques: Sensory Integration, Animal Assisted Therapy, Listening Therapy, Kinesiotaping, E-Stimulation, Hippotherapy, Neuro-developmental Technique

Allied Therapy Occupational Therapists Directory