‘Occupation’ refers to all activities that individuals occupy. Occupational Therapy is a profession dedicated to assisting individuals (and families) to participate in those activities. They can be paid or unpaid, leisure or work, and be meaningful or mundane. In many instances, occupational therapists work with specific groups (i.e. the elderly, or persons who have suffered injuries through accidents and falls) to help them engage in activities of daily life. This can include training individuals to use assistive technologies (i.e. wheelchairs) or teach them ways to walk or hold objects.
Occupational Science is the study of human participation/occupation. Research in this area often focuses on specific populations (such as children, the elderly, or those with MS) and their unique challenges to engage in meaningful activities. Occupational scientists study ways of measuring participation, develop new and innovative methods of intervention to help individuals engage in activities, and examine the impact of participation on an individual’s health and well-being.
Why Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science?
The success of Canada’s health care system depends on the integration of a diversity of services that meets the needs of the general population. This includes not only medical interventions in hospitals but, other forms of care and services that prevent illness and disease to allow individuals to maintain their standard of living and quality of life. Occupational Therapists have been practicing in Canada for several decades and have helped countless individuals and families participate in their daily lives in the face of unique challenges, such as impairment and disability. Moreover, Occupational Scientists have continued to research new and innovative ways to deliver interventions and treatments that best serve target populations. Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy is at the forefront of helping individuals live healthier and more fulfilling lives.