Occupational Therapy, what is it ?

I give you concrete exemples and then explain the profession in a simple way


Occupational therapy is based on the link between human activity and health.

If you or a relative are having specific issues to realise one or several activities, occupational therapy may be indicated.

Who may need O.T. ?

Children and teenagers

Why ?

You notice that your child :

  • Is writing slowly, quickly gets tired writing or is hard to read 
  • Seems disorganized, doesn't clear up their school supplies or their room, easily forget things
  • Isn't comfortable with using their academic tools
  • Struggles to maintain their attention, follow orders, stay still
  • Seems clumsy in sports or games, avoids some games

For who ? 

Exemples : child with learning disability (dysgraphia, dyspraxia...) psychomotor development delay, intellectual deficiency, neurological condition (cerebral palsy...), autism spectrum disorder

How ?

We can provide particularly :

  • Re-education to improve abilities (fine or global motor skills, visuospatial abilities, attention...), instructional acomodations
  • technical assistance (adapted academic tools, organizational tools...)
  • Implementation of computer tools   
  • New strategies learning
  • Coordination with educational team 
  • School or home environnement's adaptation


Why ?

  • Physical abilities limitations : hard to manipulate daily tools, instability, frequent need of support, risk of falls
  • Cognitive abilities limitations : memory or attention disorder, activities disorganization, space or time disorientation
  • Need of implementing or renewing a wheelchair (manual or electric)
  • Non-accessible daily-life spaces or unadapted tools

For who ? 

Exemples : accident consequences (ex: stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury), start or evolution of a chronic disease (ex: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis), mental health disorder, sensorial deficiency (ex: visual, auditive)...

How ?

In relation to daily life activities (to shower, to put clothes on, to cook, to do groceries...) we can provide particularly:

  • Re-education and strategies to facilitate and secure transfers (sit-to-stand...-), prevent the risk of falls, improve motricity  
  • Re-education and strategies to maintain or improve attention in task or activities planification 
  • Implementation of technical assistance : advices and simulations 
  • Advices in environnemental adaptations
  • Caregivers support (strategies learning, relief)

Elderly people

Why ?

Consultation's reasons are similars (see details in "adult" part) :

  • Physical abilities limitations
  • Cognitive abilities limitations 
  • Need of implementing or renewing a wheelchair 
  • Non-accessible daily-life spaces or unadapted tools

​Living well at home while ageing can become a challenge, think about occupational therapy ! 

For who ? 

Exemples : can concern normal ageing, a chronic disease, a degenerative condition like Alzheimer or associated diseases...

How ?

We can provide similar therapeutical methods as for adults, with a focus on :

  • Stimulation of physical, cognitive ou sensorial abilities in order to prevent their decline or preserve them the longest time possible.
  • Risk of falls prevention : home organisation's assessment, adaptations and strategies to avoid falling 
  • Advices for environnement's adaptations in case of ageing in place.
  • Caregivers support (prévention of burnout)

What is O.T. ?

Activities of Daily Life

The main goal in occupational therapy is to maintain, enable or improve activities of daily life's realisation . 

These are the activities that make sense to you, meaning in which you want or need to participate.

We consider these three categories of activities : 

  • self-care (ex: having a shower, brushing teeth, cooking, eating a meal...) 
  • leisure (ex: doing sport or creative activity, hang out with friends...)
  • productivity (ex: working, doing the groceries, cleaning the house...)

Global approach

In O. T. we have a holistic approach, meaning that we consider personal characteristics, their daily habits and their social environnement  (relatives, cargivers ) and physical environnement (accessibility and home organisation). 

In partership with you, we are aiming to prevent, reduce or suppress handicap situations that affects you daily life. 

We are working on your daily activities, the closest we can be from your centres of interest and your personal needs.  

From assessement to intervention

We assess what facilitates or prevents you from independence in your daily life. From there we can build the intervention. We can consult in cabinet or do home interventions if needed . We employ several therapeutic methods : 

  • Re-education : it can be related to a physical, cognitive or sensorial disorder
  • Rehabilitation : activity simulation in real situation, compensatory strategies' learning, technical assistance implementation, space adaptation... 


Collaboration starts in therapeutical relationship that we're building in your follow-up. 

Our profession is complementary to various disciplines which main goal is to improve your quality of life. We collaborate especially with : other health professionals that surround you, teachers, specialized services, equipment providers...

The occupational therapist's role is to know and act on disorders' practical consequences in daily life.

Professional confidentiality

As every health professional, we are subject to professional confidentiality under the conditions of the law (articles 226-13 and 226-14 of french criminal code, article 110-4 of french public health code). We have legal and moral obligation to not reveal medical or private informations about a patient to any third parties. 

Useful links to go further : 

FR - Site de l'Association Nationale Française des Ergothérapeutes - Définition de la profession d'ergothérapeute et autres informations : https://anfe.fr/la-profession/ 

ES/CAT - Sitio del Col.legi de Terapeutes Ocupacionals de Catalunya - Definición de la profesión de Terapeuta Ocupacional y otras informaciones : https://www.cotoc.cat/terapia-ocupacional/que-es-la-terapia-ocupacional/ 

ES - Sitio de la Asociación Profesional Española de Terapeutas Ocupacionales - Definición de la profesión de Terapeuta Ocupacional y otras informaciones : https://www.apeto.com/que-es-la-to-definicion.html 

EN - American Occupational Therapy Association's website - Ocupational Therapy's definition and other informations : https://www.aota.org/about/what-is-ot