So, you’re probably still wondering “What is occupational therapy?” To understand OT, as it is frequently referred, is to understand a broader sense of the word occupation and an understanding beyond the realm of one’s career or job description. Occupation can be thought of as the daily activities that occupy a person’s time throughout the day. Occupations are not “busy work”, but the activities that bring meaning to a person’s life. Occupations generally fit within three categories: work, leisure, and self-care. Many of our occupations are directed by the roles (parent, sibling, caregiver, worker, student, etc.) that we play throughout our day and our lives. An occupationally healthy person has a balance in his or her occupations and is able to perform the duties involved with his or her roles successfully and satisfactorily.
An occupational therapist would become concerned when a person is unable to perform the occupations of their daily life or is unable to effectively perform in their roles. Multiple types of impairments may hinder a person’s ability to engage in occupations including physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, and other impairments. This is why OTs work in a variety of settings and implement a variety of methods to restore impairments, provide adaptive methods, or develop skills so a person may perform occupations to the best of one’s ability.