Occupational therapy (OT) is the use of assessment and intervention to develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities. It is an allied health profession performed by occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants (OTA). OTs often work with people with mental health problems, disabilities, injuries, or impairments.
The American Occupational Therapy Association defines an occupational therapist as someone who “helps people across their lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, injury rehabilitation, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.”
Typically, occupational therapists are university-educated professionals and must pass a licensing exam to practice. Occupational therapists often work closely with professionals in physical therapy, speech therapy, audiology, nursing, social work, clinical psychology, medicine, and assistive technology.