What is occupational therapy?

Jessica Mack
Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a health care profession through which Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) utilize therapeutic activities to assist people of all ages to achieve maximum independence in various areas of their lives. An occupational therapist (OTR) evaluates individuals and develops treatment plans that include the provision of direct services, consultation with programs or agencies. The OTR supervises technical personnel such as the certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA).

Occupational Therapists work with individuals of every age, from birth until the end of life. OTs assist children in the areas of: development of play skills, improvement in self-care, increasing independence in school development, and improvement of interpersonal skills. Adults work may work with OTs to help improve work skills, self-management skills, interpersonal skills, and leisure skills. In other words, OTs work with individuals with disabilities who wish to regain skills or to compensate for lost abilities.

OTs work in various settings including: school systems, skilled nursing facilities, private clinics, and hospitals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.