Occupational therapy works with clients to restore functioning and well being, to remediate limitations to independence and to adapt for impairments or disabilities. It also helps prevent illnesses or injuries.
“Occupation” refers to the activities that individuals participate in their daily lives. Our ability to perform self-care tasks, to work or go to school, to drive, to participate in leisure activities and to maintain our home environments are examples of common occupations.
Occupational therapists help people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally or emotionally disabling. They also help them to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. OTs help clients not only to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function. Their goal is to help clients have independent, productive and satisfying lives.
Occupational therapist assist clients in performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking and eating. Physical exercises may be used to increase strength, endurance, and dexterity, while other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns.
Certified Occupational Therapist Assistants work under the supervision of occupational therapists to provide rehabilitative services to persons with mental, physical, emotional or developmental impairments. The ultimate goal is to improve clients’ quality of life and ability to perform daily activities. COTAs help clients with rehabilitative activities and exercises outlined in a treatment plan developed in collaboration with an occupational therapist. They record their client’s progress for the occupational therapist and may bill for the services rendered.