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Promote OT
Resources - For Practitioners

Definitions of Occupational Therapy

The way we define our profession helps external audiences understand what we do. Here are definitions for occupational therapy and "occupation" that may be useful in your Promote OT communication efforts:

  • Occupational therapy is therapy based on meaningful activities of daily life (self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction), especially to enable or encourage participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning (11th edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 2003, as developed with AOTA).
  • "Occupations" are activities of everyday life, named, organized, and given value and meaning by individuals and a culture. Occupation is everything people do to occupy themselves, including looking after themselves, enjoying life, and contributing to the social and economic fabric of communities (Law, M., Polatajko, H., Baptiste, W., & Townsend, E., 1997).

Additionally, the Special Interest Section (SIS) area of the AOTA Web site has concise language about most practice areas. (Members only)

Facts and Stats

OT Fact Sheet
AOTA Fact Sheet
Bureau of Labor Statistics' OT Web site

Talking Points & Public Messages

Consistent, positive messages about occupational therapy help promote a collective voice among the profession. Here are some messages that AOTA and The Fund have incorporated in media outreach efforts:

  • Occupational therapy practitioners are on the frontlines of promoting health and well-being of family members of all ages.
  • Occupational therapy helps children and adults facing physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges to participate more fully in the "occupation" of living.
  • Occupational therapy practitioners work with people to improve skills that help them perform daily tasks at home, at school, at work, and at play.
  • While other health care professions most often address individuals' medical conditions, occupational therapy addresses individual needs. Practitioners take into consideration the individual, the environment, and the task to be performed
  • The goal of occupational therapy is to help individuals achieve or regain a high level of independence.

Logos, Artwork, and Photographs

Sample Press Releases & Letters to the Editor

OT Month Proclamations

Speaker Guidelines

Consumer Tip Sheets


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