Occupational Therapy – What is it?

The following definition of Occupational Therapy has been provided by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), 2004.

Occupational Therapy is 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.

Occupational therapists have a broad education that equips them with skills and knowledge to work collaboratively with individuals or groups of people who have an impairment of body structure or function due to a health condition, and who experience barriers to participation. Occupational therapists believe that participation can be supported or restricted by physical, social, attitudinal and legislative environments. Therefore, occupational therapy practice may be directed to changing aspects of the environment to enhance participation.

Occupational therapy is practised in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, health centres, homes, workplaces, schools, reform institutions and housing for seniors. Clients are actively involved in the therapeutic process, and outcomes of occupational therapy are diverse, client-driven and measured in terms of participation or satisfaction derived from participation.

Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder is a fun, play-based intervention that takes place in a sensory-rich environment. Private clinics and practices, hospital outpatient departments, and university occupational therapy programs are typical places where treatment for SPD. Children are most commonly treated for SPD with occupational therapy (OT) with other complementary therapies. Sometimes other professionals such as physical therapists, speech/language therapists, teachers, and/or others who have advanced training in using a sensory integration approach may be involved in treatment.