Occupational Therapist

Occupational therapists are health care professionals that help people to learn, relearn, or manage everyday activities. Occupational therapists assess people’s difficulties when completing tasks, then design solutions to help them perform the treatment or activities needed to overcome their problems. 

They help to optimize what people can do safely and efficiently. 

Occupational Therapists do not directly treat health problems or conditions but use therapy and psychotherapy to help people live with their problems and gain independence. They provide services to anyone facing difficulties with day-to-day activities due to an accident, age-related changes, disability, health condition, or an emotional or developmental disorder. Some conditions occupational therapists help manage to include:

  • Physically-limiting conditions and diseases such as amputations, arthritis, burns, carpal tunnel syndrome, hip and knee replacement, paralysis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, Muscular sclerosis and tendonitis.
  • Mental conditions such as addiction, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, depression, learning difficulties, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Developmental disorders such as Huntington’s disease, Asperger’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, ADHD and autism.

Occupational therapists provide services throughout the healthcare system, including hospitals, care facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, recreation centers, schools, clinics, etc.  Some of these services include:

  • Assessing patients’ needs and designing and implementing treatment.
  • Helping people with physical deficiencies optimize movement and physical capability to ensure that they can get between work and home safely.
  • Helping people with cognitive impairments, optimize their ability to think, communicate and remember.
  • Helping people with mental conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD manage their condition. 
  • Working with children to develop skills or manage behaviour.
  • Helping people who’ve changed physically or mentally adapt to their job or make changes to their workplace environment.

In Ontario, “Occupational Therapist” is a regulated profession subject to the Standards for Practice defined by the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario. For more information on regulatory colleges, view our What is a Regulatory College page.