Occupational therapy (OT) is an art and science assisting people with disabilities to become more independent and maximise their participation in everyday activities which are important and relevant to their health and well-being.
The recent history of the development of OT goes back more than a century, having emerged as a distinct professional specialism following World War I, when societies faced with the mass disablement of working age people had to address their habilitation
Currently, OT as a profession is taught at universities and colleges in most parts of Europe, North America and Australasia, and is also emerging in parts of Africa, Asia and South America. The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) was established 60 years ago with the purpose of furthering the development of OT methods. It now has a membership from over 65 countries
There is now firm evidence that purposeful activity, helps to improve functional capabilities (motor, movement, social, emotional, cognitive, and psychological) and enables them to be more independent and have less need for the assistance of others. Occupational Therapy is based on a process of collaboration with the client, their family and social network. It includes conducting a functional (capabilities) and situation assessment, prioritising and setting goals, and the implementation of a programme of intervention. The philosophy of OT in general and strategies for practical intervention are based on an individualised approach to every person and their needs (person-centred approach)
The purpose of OT is to help achieve or recover the maximum possible level of human capacity for independent living (self-care, productive activity, recreation) and participation in the life of society, irrespective of the kind of disorder or restriction the individual has
A distinctive feature of OT is that it draws on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines, including anatomy and physiology, pedagogy, psychology, sociology and social work, ergonomics and biomechanics, and physical therapy
World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) http://www.wfot.org
European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education (ENOTHE) http://www.enothe.eu