What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a health care profession that enables people to perform their daily occupations. The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) defines occupation as, “everything 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).

Through specialized knowledge and skills, OTs provide solutions to enable the occupations of life. The assessments and interventions provided by OTs are client-centered, functional, and individually tailored to address the particular needs of each person.

OTs work with individuals of all ages and all types of diagnoses, adapting their therapy to each person’s specific occupational performance issues (OPIs). OPI’s are any aspect of someone’s life where they are having trouble with their independence or engagement with their meaningful everyday activities.
How does Occupational Therapy work?
OT services are individualized depending on one’s strengths, needs and goals identified. At the SLN we take an activities-based approach, working to improve one’s performance in the specific occupation they need help with. We also look to develop the different components and skills which allow us to function in our everyday activities. There are many components of functioning which affect one’s ability to participate in their daily occupations. The components that can be addressed during therapy include, but are not limited to:
  • Fine Motor skills – The ability to make movements using small muscle groups, particularly with your hands.
  • Gross Motor skills – The ability to make movements using larger muscle groups.
  • Play Skills – A combination of planning activities, solving problems, and transferring skills from one type of play to another.
  • Social Skills – The interaction and communication with others.
  • Attention – The ability to actively process specific information in the environment while tuning out other details
  • Memory – The processes that are used to acquire, store, retain, and later retrieve information.
  • Executive Functioning – The higher-level cognitive skills you use to control and coordinate your other cognitive abilities and behaviors (planning, task initiation, organization, etc.).
  • Visual-Perceptual Skills – The ability to make sense of what the eyes see.
  • Motor Planning – How one plans and carries out movements.
  • Self-Regulation – The ability to manage your emotions and behavior in accordance with the demands of the situation.
  • Sensory Processing – How the brain perceives a combination of internal and external stimuli, and our body’s response (i.e., motor action or behaviour). People with sensory processing differences have trouble interpreting sensory information, with their brain often misreading or distorts this input. They may have difficulties using this information to do what they need or want to do.

Services for Children & Youth (0-17 years)

Children and youth often engage in the following daily occupations:

  • Play
  • Self-care (dressing, eating, bathing, etc.)
  • Schoolwork (including handwriting)
  • Family and peer relationships
  • Community living skills

Services for Adults (18+ years)

Some of the common daily occupations experienced by adults include:

  • Self-care
  • Productivity (working, household management, etc.)
  • Social relationships
  • Community navigation
  • Leisure (sports, hobbies, etc.)
How do I know if OT would benefit me / my child?
OT may benefit if you / your child:

  • Are having difficulties performing their everyday occupations (at home/daycare, at school, in the workplace, etc.)
  • Are experiencing mental health concerns that are affecting daily living (depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Are having trouble with your gross or fine motor skills
  • Are experiencing sensory processing differences
  • Are having difficulties with self-regulation and/or behaviour management
  • Are having issues with cognition, including memory, attention, and/or executive functioning
  • Are having troubles with your social interactions
  • Are not meeting typical developmental milestones

Occupational Therapy services include assessment, direct intervention, parent/client coaching and consultation.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with an Occupational Therapist