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Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a science degree-based, health and social care profession, regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council. OT takes a “whole-person approach” to both mental and physical health and wellbeing and enables individuals to achieve their full potential. Practical support is provided to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases the individual’s independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life.

(Adapted from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists' definition of Occupational Therapy.)


OT in our setting includes:
  • Self-care — the ability to manage the organisation of self and the environment and activities of daily living, such as changing for Physical Education activities, tying shoelaces, cutlery skills.
  • Gross motor skills, including the development of postural control/core stability, balance, hand/eye coordination, body awareness and motor planning.
  • Fine motor skills, including handwriting and tool-use.
  • Visual perception/visual motor integration, including visual memory, visual spatial relationships and visual discrimination.
  • Sensory processing — the support of sensory-based needs either through the use of strategies or a sensory diet to achieve appropriate levels of alertness to access the curriculum.
  • Emotional Regulation, supporting individuals to understand their feelings and manage them.
How does OT support preparation for adulthood?
  • It enables individuals to develop a personally satisfying routine of everyday activities that creates a sense of purpose and enhances the individual's journey into adulthood.
  • Helps individuals to improve their self-care, e.g. by supporting them to learn how to use washing machines or to cook for themselves.
  • Helps individuals manage their money by learning budget management skills and how to use banks.
  • Work with individuals to identify and improve work skills, apply for jobs and stay in employment.
  • Help individuals to access and use mainstream leisure activities
  • Provide advice on how much assistance an individual may need to live independently in the long-term.
  • Encourage the use of public transport, so people with learning disabilities can access community facilities.
  • Support individuals to develop parenting skills.