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Occupational Therapy

Occupation is “….everything that people do to occupy themselves, including looking after themselves (self-care), enjoying life (leisure), and contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities (productivity).”

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 enabling a just and inclusive society so that all people may participate to their potential in the daily occupations of life.”

Occupational therapists help people to identify the occupations that are difficult for them. This could be due to problems with physical abilities, for example, strength or co-ordination, or mental abilities, for example, memory or organization skills. Other problems may arise from the experiences of mental illness.

Occupational therapists may work with people to:

• Help them learn new ways of doing things following illness or injury, for example, dressing or cooking

• Adapt material or equipment, for example, recommend wheelchairs or provide special bath or toilet seats

• Make changes to the living or working environment to help them undertake their usual occupations

• Develop new skills, abilities or interests, for example, job readiness programmes

• Access ways to manage pain so people can still do things

• Assist them to feel better about themselves and what they do

• Develop their confidence in social situations

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages in a variety of settings.


Sourced from: New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists

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