All of an occupational therapists’ work is based on occupations, but what does that actually mean? In this blog post we talk about why all occupational therapy is based on occupations, what that really means, as well as what it means for you.
Think about what occupations you would miss if someone told you that you couldn’t do them anymore? These are what we class as ‘meaningful occupations’. These meaningful occupations are at the crux of occupational therapy practice.
Rebeiro stated in 1998 that people who are engaged in occupation tend to exhibit a general rhythm to their daily routine. They create a balance to work, rest, play and sleep activities. They will also display more organised thoughts and actions. This is meaningful occupation.
As occupational therapists we find that meaningful occupations are at the heart of occupational therapy. It is an essential tool that we use to help people (often children in our case) establish a purposeful goal orientated living.
Our team of occupational therapists differ from other health disciplines because meaningful occupation is our primary tool, underpinning all of our interventions. With a speech therapist you focus on speech. When you work with a physiotherapist the focus is on strength or exercise. However meaningful occupation is harder to highlight and this is why occupational therapy is often one of the most misunderstood therapies.
It is important to note that as occupational therapists we are not the experts. In fact we are just guides for the children we work with, using our expertise in meaningful occupation, which is a very powerful tool. We help the children we work with overcome things that may be simple for others. For example we work with children on dressing themselves, going to the toilet independently, being able to hit a ball, improving their handwriting and so much more.
I strongly believe that as occupational therapists we are improving the quality of life for the children we are supporting. We are doing this by ‘doing’ not just thinking. With meaning, occupation has the impact of enhancing the quality of the children’s lives that we work with and support.
We understand that every child we work with will have different reasons as to why their occupations are meaningful to them. It is our job, as occupational therapists, to discover these meaningful occupations and help them overcome challenges so these are possible for them.