Occupational therapy (OT) is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. Occupational therapy takes a “whole-person approach” to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables individuals to achieve their full potential.
Occupational Therapy is a unique health care profession which makes a person independence as much as possible in his daily living activities (ADLs) by resolving a person’s physical, mental, social and environmental limitations
Areas that occupational therapists work in include:
Children and young people
Occupational therapy can help babies, infants, children and young people grow, learn, have fun, socialise and play so they can develop, thrive and reach their full potential.
Occupational therapy enables people to participate in daily life to improve their health and wellbeing. Daily life is made up of many activities (or occupations). Occupations for children or young people may include self-care (getting ready to go out, eating a meal, using the toilet), being productive (going to nursery or school, or volunteering) and leisure – playing with friends or doing hobbies. Learn more in our dedicated children and young people’s section.
People with physical disabilities
Occupational therapy can help people with a physical disability, including those who may have undergone an amputation, to pursue daily activities and favorite hobbies.
When occupational therapists work with people with disabilities they focus on:
- Enabling clients to function at an optimal level, despite barriers
- How activities which the person needs or wants to do can be modified or adapted to make them easier
- How clients feel about themselves and their ability to tackle problems
How the physical and social environment can be altered so that restrictions are reduced
People with learning disabilities
Occupational therapists support people with all types of learning disabilities to help them continue with life skills, work and leisure activities as independently as possible. They will:
- Work with individuals, families and support workers so they understand the importance of taking part in everyday activities
- Help people with learning disabilities to get involved in activities around the home, such as cooking
- Help people to live independently
- Encourage use of public transport so people with learning disabilities can access community facilities
- Support people into mainstream voluntary work or employment
Support people to develop parenting skills
People with mental health issues
Occupational therapists help people to develop a personally satisfying routine of everyday activities that creates a sense of purpose and enhances the person’s recovery journey. They will:
- Help people improve their self-care, e.g. by supporting them to learn how to use washing machines or to cook for themselves
- Help people manage their money by learning budgeting skills and how to use banks
- Support people to live independently by providing systems to assist in dealing with, for example, mail and bills or negotiating with neighbors
- Work with people to identify and improve work skills, apply for jobs and stay in employment
- Help people to access and use mainstream leisure activities
Provide advice on how much assistance a person may need to live independently in the long-term
Occupational therapists can help older people to continue doing the daily activities that maintain their health and wellbeing and are important to them.
An occupational therapist can support social opportunities by:
- Understanding the difficulties and working with the older person to find ways of having more social contact
- Developing strategies to increase a person’s confidence when meeting new people
Recommending equipment, such as a walking aid, so the person feels confident when out and about