Sometimes I wish I was a lawyer, or a teacher, or even a police officer. Not because I have any desire to do those jobs, but because maybe then people would have some sense of what I did for a living when I told them my job title. But instead of understanding, the phrase “I’m an occupational therapist” is often met with a polite, but confused nod.
However, since you’ve found your way this far through the twists and turns of the internet, I’m assuming you are one step ahead of the game. You’ve probably at least heard of occupational therapy (or simply, OT). Although, how well do you think you could explain this profession to someone else? (If the answer is “really well”, then I’ll let you take it from here… )
Alright then, here goes my best explanation: Occupational therapists are health care professionals. We use skilled, evidence-based interventions to enable people of all ages to participate in the activities of life that are most important to them. (I know, still kind of vague, right?)
Ok, let me try this a different way. Think of “occupations” as “really important activities.” People get stuck on the term “occupation” only as a job. Yes, your job might be a really important activity to you, but so are lots of other things that you might take for granted. Think of all the activities that are critical to everything you do: buttoning a shirt to get dressed, driving your car, making a meal, signing a credit card receipt. All of these things are your “occupations”. For kids, these activities typically include play, school work, and self-care.
When a child has a developmental delay, disability, or injury that prevents them from participating in their occupations, occupational therapists are the ones to call. We complete comprehensive evaluations, create treatment goals to address areas of delay, and provide therapy on a daily, weekly, or consultative basis in a variety of settings.
Fore more in-depth information on occupational therapy, check out the link below from The American Occupational Therapy Association: http://www.aota.org/consumers.aspx