What is Occupational Therapy and who does it help?

Occupational therapy helps people to overcome the barriers that prevent them from doing activities and occupations that are a part of their daily lives.

The aim of occupational therapy is to promote maximal independence and quality of life by treating clients holistically.

Occupational therapy is unique as it looks at all areas of a persons functioning - for example: activities of daily living, work & productive activities, play & leisure activities, and psychosocial aspects.

Occupational therapists work in the fields of:

  1. Paediatrics
  2. Adult physical rehabilitation
  3. Psychiatry
  4. Vocational rehabilitation
  5. Medico-Legal

Medico-Legal evaluations

Medico-legal work does not involve treatment but is mainly concerned with evaluations / assessments as well as a report on the persons functional ability. Occupational therapists are commissioned by a legal practitioner from e.g. the Road Accident Fund, the insurance industry or retirement funds.

*Tariffs are subject to an agreement between the Occupational therapist and the legal practitioner.


This involves the treatment of children from birth to 18 years old. They may suffer from a variety of conditions ranging from premature babies; children with neurological complications (e.g.cerebral palsy or spina bifida); babies with orthopaedic conditions such as club feet; sensory integration difficulties; developmental delays; children with down syndrome; children with academic or scholastic problems or concentration deficits and related problems. Treatment could entail play therapy, Ayres Sensory Integration therapy, fine motor activities, gross motor activities, visual perceptual skills training, neuro-developmental therapy and more.

Physical Conditions

Patients range in age from birth to elderly and may suffer from conditions such as arthritis, burns, upper limb- and hand injuries, strokes, head injuries or spinal cord lesions. These patients may receive treatment on a daily basis or less often and are seen individually. Part of the work of an occupational therapist in this field is the manufacturing of splints and pressure garments. Treatment could also include the use of activities and assistive devices to improve patients' independence in all activities of their daily living, including their personal independence (self and domestic care), work and leisure.

Vocational Rehabilitation

This modality targets mainly adult patients of working age who cannot go back to their previous working conditions due to injury or disease. The therapy programme includes work assessment and work hardening strategies. Often recommendations promote accommodation or adaptation to function within an acceptable working situation.

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