Occupational therapy is a regulated health care profession dedicated to working with clients using evidence-based practice to enable them to participate in meaningful activities while taking into consideration their home environment, culture, and community. Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective and wish to enable individuals by maximizing their independence through physical and/or mental strategies and techniques. Clients learn how to develop the appropriate skills in the areas of self-care, productivity and leisure that are necessary for independent and satisfying lives.
The roles and expectations for a child are much different than that of an adult. Play is considered the primary occupation for children, where they explore different ways they can interact with their environment. Occupational therapists understand that play is essential for development and they study the concepts and assumptions that underlie the theories of play. Occupational therapists realize that multiple, interrelated factors within the child, family and environment influence a child’s ability to engage in play. Through the use of best practice, theory, assessment and clinical reasoning, occupational therapists are able to hypothesize and develop interventions to improve the occupational performance and function of children.
Mental illness can also have an effect on a person’s social, psychological, and physical health and well-being. An occupational therapist collaborates with children and youth to assist them in developing effective strategies to successfully function with their mental illness. Areas that occupational therapists typically address are stress/anxiety management, self-regulation skills, goal planning, conflict resolution, job skills, daily routine and planning, engagement in leisure activities and financial planning.