Occupational therapy (OT) is a series of treatments designed to develop, recover, or maintain various necessary skills for individuals with physical, mental, or developmental difficulties. Occupational therapy is individualized treatment depending upon the patient's needs and goals.
Modern theories regarding occupational therapy can be traced to Adolf Meyer and his 1922 address to the Occupational Therapy Society and William Rush Dunton, founder of the American Occupational Therapy Association. From these roots, occupational therapy has focused on the idea that occupation is essential to health and OT remains focused on helping individuals engage in their chosen occupations.
In practice, occupational therapists take clients through the occupational therapy process, which also varies from client to client, but focuses on evaluation, intervention, and outcome. Occupational therapists work with individuals from childhood through adulthood. With children, especially for children with special needs such as Autism, OT can provide valuable skill development in such areas as handwriting, functional skills, coping skills and difficulty with sensory processing.
One of the fastest growing areas of OT is helping individuals with mental illness. OT imparts skills such as schedule maintenance, building routines, social skills, money management and coping skills to allow individuals to care for themselves.