BETHESDA, Md. — During the month of April, the American Occupational Therapy Assoc. celebrates Occupational Therapy Month and the more than 185,000 occupational therapists, occupational-therapy assistants, and students who work nationwide to create fuller lives for clients and their families.
Occupational therapy helps people across their lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational-therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent — or live better with — injury, illness, or disability.
These are just some of the interventions and services that occupational therapy practitioners can provide:
• Helping children with mental disabilities such as autism-spectrum disorder and physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy to participate fully in school and social situations;
• Keeping older drivers safe and independent in their vehicles by providing in-car assessments, recommendations for adaptive equipment, and appropriate self-restrictions;
• Offering a client who is recovering from a stroke ways to resume independence in bathing, dressing, and cooking a meal;
• Helping people recovering from injury to regain skills necessary to return to work;
• Providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes;
• Evaluating an older adult’s home to promote safety and prevent falls; and
• Helping wounded warriors overcome physical injuries such as limb loss, and mental challenges such as TBI and PTSD, and reintegrate into the community.
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. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science. Practice areas are children and youth, mental health, disability and rehabilitation, healthy living, aging, and work.
To learn more about the profession of occupational therapy, visit www.aota.org.