Occupational Therapy celebrates a century!

by Marie Dixon
Riderwood Occupational Therapist

April is Occupational Therapy (OT) Month, and the OT Profession is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, demonstrating an extensive history of working with individuals to foster their highest level of function for Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)!

Initiating in ancient Greece and Rome as a focus in mental health, the concept of OT practice continued in the 18th century focusing on treating patients’ emotions via work and leisure activities, a care model known as “Moral Treatment and Occupation.” The National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy, now known as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), was founded in 1917.

Following World War I and polio/tuberculosis outbreaks in the 1920’s, OT shifted to a more physical treatment focus, as the injured and sick required specific, skilled interventions to regain functional independence and promote activity engagement.

Since that time, OT’s have balanced a focus on the abilities, challenges, roles, emotions and motivators for each client. The overarching goal is to maximize the occupational performance of daily activities through rehabilitation and adaptation strategies. OT’s work in many settings: neonatal units, schools, hospitals, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers, psychiatric facilities, and retirement communities.

To this day, OT’s utilize modalities, techniques, technology, and various intervention strategies to better the lives of individuals by optimizing their participation in daily activities at the highest level of function and independence. Here at Riderwood, OT’s emphasize safety and function as they align with Erickson Living’s drive to Add More Living to Your Life!


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