About Occupational Therapy

What is an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapists (OTs) help people get back to meaningful everyday activities.

They work with people of all ages who have experienced an illness affecting physical or mental health, an injury, or a disability starting early in life. Whether it's learning to bathe, feed or dress, returning to work, or learning a favourite leisure activity such as playing the guitar again, OTs can help.

They work with families, communities and organizations to enable people to live life to the fullest. OTs can help children with disabilities participate fully in school, play and social situations. They also provide supportive strategies for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.

OTs use activities to help people manage or overcome physical, cognitive or mental health impairments. They work in close partnership with clients to access performance capabilities, comprehensively evaluate home and job sites, make adaptive equipment recommendations, and offer guidance to family members and caregivers. OTs help create environments in which people can participate meaningfully in their daily occupations. They may modify the environment, redesign the activity and/or enhance one's skills and abilities.

An occupational therapist helps you to be able to do all the day-to-day activities that are meaningful to you - taking care of yourself, working, or enjoying leisure activites.

What do Occupational Therapists do?

  • Assess and intervene to support a person's cognitive, perceptual, motor, and psychosocial functioning no matter their age or ability
  • Deliver rehabilitation programs in the community where people live, work and study
  • Support individuals with mental health challenges to engage in normal activities and healthy relationships
  • Assist persons with chronic diseases to self-manage their challenges
  • Identify how body systems control a person's movements when one is healthy or ill
  • Address the impact of disability on a person's sexuality
  • Discover important societal factors that alter health and what individuals do
  • Match technology to the needs of the individual
  • Evaluate workplaces to identify any modifications needed for specific workers

Occupational therapists work in a variety of environments including:

  • Hospitals
  • Private clinics
  • Health centres
  • Schools
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Research facilities
  • Client homes or workplaces

Occupational therapists are highly skilled rehabilitation professionals who are part of a team of health care providers including:

  • Physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Physical therapists
  • Speech pathologists
  • Pharmacists