What is OT?

Occupational therapists (OT) and occupational therapy assistants (OTA) work with people of all ages in order to help them initiate, participate and execute tasks they need to do and that they find meaningful via functional, therapeutic interventions. OT professionals help children and adults with chronic and/or new conditions to become as independent as possible in the areas of work, play and self-care. Occupational therapy is offered in a variety of settings including hospitals, schools, neonatal units, skilled nursing facilities, mental health organizations, private practice clinics, home health agencies and more. 

Occupational Therapy is a service provided by professionals who have successfully completed an extensive postsecondary OT education program AND who have passed a national certification examination. Certified Occupational Therapists (OTRs) and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) work with people of all ages to enhance their performance of important everyday activities (occupations) despite the effects of illness, disability, or injury.

Occupational therapists believe that for people to be healthy and happy, they must be able to engage in a wide variety of occupations. These occupations may be as basic as caring for oneself (grooming, personal hygiene, eating) or as complex as learning to play with other children, participating in school activities, holding a job, caring for one's children, participating in sports, or maintaining meaningful relationships with others.

When a person of any age is unable to satisfactorily perform needed or chosen occupations, the services of an occupational therapist (OT) may be needed. In Colorado, individuals may directly request OT services or the request may come from a family member, an employer, teacher, friend, physician, or other professionals. The occupational therapist then utilizes a variety of strategies to understand the extent of the "occupational problem." When OT services are warranted, the OT collaborates with the "client" to

  • Identify compensatory or adaptive strategies that allow performance of needed or wanted activities
  • Restore underlying skills that support the performance of everyday occupations
  • Educate about how to develop or maintain everyday occupations in the areas of work, self-care, and leisure.

Occupational therapists are skilled problem solvers who are committed to finding ways to reduce the negative impacts of a disability, illness, or injury on everyday functioning.

For more information about occupational therapy, please visit the web site for the American Occupational Therapy Association at AOTA.