How Do I Explain Occupational Therapy to Other People?

explaining occupational therapy

I’m used to people being confused about what Occupational Therapy is.

“So, you help people find jobs?”

“How do you like being a career counselor?”

“Why do kids need help finding jobs?”

Jobs, jobs, jobs! While awareness of Occupational Therapy is growing, it’s rare for people that haven’t experienced OT first hand to fully understand it. This is completely understandable and, if I wasn’t an OT myself, I’d probably be in the same boat.

But, as a parent, explaining OT to other people is yet another thing to add to your already packed plate. 

Of course, you are not expected to explain OT to every person who asks. Really, it’s none of anyone’s business except your own business. If you get random people inquiring about your child’s medical services, give them a few choice words and get on with your day. 

That being said, what do you do if you want to explain OT to your friends or family and you’re at a loss for helping them understand?

If you read my post about Occupational Therapy, you’ll see that my go-to explanation revolves around the word “occupation.” As people often confuse OT with career counseling, I use this misconception as a gateway to the truth. So, here’s how I would go about it:

We all do jobs all day long, whether those jobs include going to our paid careers every day or putting on our socks. The word “occupation” includes any tasks that we do during the day. For a child, occupations include going to school, getting dressed, playing on the playground, eating dinner, taking a bath, etc. OT is something that can help a child do those occupations better so that they can live their childhood to the fullest.

If giving speeches isn’t your forte, I’m with you and completely understand. These are some of my favorite videos that explain the purpose of OT. Have them easily at hand so that you can send them to an inquirer and be on your merry way.