Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Definition
Occupational therapy is the art and science of enabling engagement in everyday living, through occupation; of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being; and of enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life.
Highly Trained Specialists
Occupational therapists are highly trained health care professionals. Entry level education requirements in Canada include a professional Master’s degree in occupational therapy.
Occupational therapists use a systematic approach based on evidence and professional reasoning to enable individuals to develop the means and opportunities to engage in the occupations of life.
Occupational therapists are generally employed in community agencies, health care organizations, including hospitals, care facilities, rehabilitation clinics, schools, social agencies or are self-employed.
Scope of Practice:
Scope of practice for occupational therapy is determined by provincial acts. Please contact Provincial regulatory bodies for direct information.
As defined by American Occupational Therapy Association
“The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play activities to increase development and prevent disability. It may include adaptation of task or environment to achieve maximum independence and to enhance the quality of life.”
OTs are Team Players with:
- Patient & their Family
- Speech therapists
- Case managers
- Social Workers
Occupational Therapists often specialize in physical medicine, pediatrics or mental health. Pediatric Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, home health, clinics, private offices and community programs.
The American Occupational Therapy Association, AOTA, has an excellent website on Occupational Therapy.
Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy: Comparison of Focus
Physical and Occupational therapists often work side by side and there may be overlap in the therapies provided. The table below shows typical focus areas by discipline as a general guideline.
- Upper extremity
- Fine motor skills
- Functional activities
- Independence goals
- Adaptive equipment for selfcare
- Hand splints
- Holistic: body, mind & spirit
- Gross motor skills
- Exercises & modalities
- Strength & range of motion goals
- Mobility & Transfers
- Foot orthotics
- Medical Specialties, eg sports injuries, orthopedics, neurology, etc.
OT for Your Child Home vs School
Occupational Therapist’s serve children in both medical and educational settings, where the roles differ slightly. Unsure of the differences? Click here.