Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that helps people with physical, developmental, or emotional disabilities lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives.
An occupational therapist, or OT, is part of the multidisciplinary rehabilitation team and often directs the following types of care:
Evaluates children with developmental or neuromuscular problems and helps plan treatments that will help them grow mentally, socially, and physically
Assists adults in learning how to carry out activities of daily living (ADLs) at home, on the job, and in the community
Helps the elderly adjust to the special problems of aging while remaining physically and mentally active
Recommends changes in layout and design of the home, school, or workplace to allow people with disabilities greater access and mobility
Teaches energy conservation and work simplification methods
Improves communication skills, such as reading, writing, and using the telephone
Occupational therapists may practice in a variety of settings, including:
Inpatient rehabilitation centers
Outpatient rehabilitation centers
Long-term care facilities
Home care settings
Occupational therapists hold a master's or doctoral degree and are certified by the American Occupational Therapy Association.