What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy helps individuals of all ages in recovering and maintaining their ability to perform jobs and activities that are meaningful to them. Occupational therapists work with patients who have chronic health conditions and developmental disabilities, and they also help individuals recovering from surgery and life-changing injuries. The goal of occupational therapy is to provide the patient with the modifications and tools they need to live as independently as possible. For example, a typical occupational therapy session for someone recovering from shoulder surgery might include instructions on how to use adaptive devices to reach items up on a high shelf. Sessions also generally include instruction in modifications the patient might use to dress themselves with minimal movement, and patients might also be taught about proper precautions for cooking while recovering from an injury or illness. Patients in rehabilitation centers normally receive occupational therapy on-site, and individuals who live at home can receive sessions at healthcare facilities and sometimes in their own homes. 

The guide below provides information about why occupational therapy might be recommended, the benefits of the treatment, and how it is used in conjunction with other therapies.

When It's Used


Occupational therapy is typically recommended whenever an individual has a chronic condition, disability, or injury that prevents them from participating fully in family life, social events, or daily activities such as writing, cooking, dressing, or personal care. Occupational therapy may be recommended by a patient's physician, and the patient might also choose to see an occupational therapist privately during recovery from surgery or while coping with a life-changing medical condition. This type of therapy can be used to help children with autism or other learning differences adapt and participate more easily in school activities, and it is also used for older adults who have cognitive issues. Working individuals may be provided with occupational therapy by their company after a workplace accident. 

Get familiar with the full benefits of occupational therapy next.

Emily Fowler