In the truest sense Occupational Therapy is about living life to its fullest.
According to The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Inc. occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).
Occupational therapists consider the following aspects of the person: Physical, Affective, Cognitive, and Spiritual.
Physical: The physical body of the person; strength, endurance, coordination, muscle tone, fatigue, pain, flexibility, etc.
Affective: Emotional (mood, feelings, etc).
Cognitive: Thinking (problem-solving, decision-making, concentration, attention span, judgment, reasoning, insight, etc).
Spirituality: The core of the individual. What provides meaning for that person. Spirituality is unique to each individual.
Occupational therapy services also include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers.
The AOTA explains that occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.
Occupational therapy services typically include
- an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
- customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
- an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.
Some common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.