Occupational therapists can work with people of all ages, who are living with an injury, illness, or disability.

Occupational therapy focuses on helping a person to do the things they want to do and need to do in their day. This includes:

  • Self-care activities such as showering/bathing, dressing, toileting, meal preparation;
  • Productivity activities such as work, schoolwork, volunteering;
  • Leisure activities such as being part of your local community, engaging in a meaningful hobby and socialising with friends.

Occupational Therapists look at the person (what abilities and skills does the person have and what is meaningful to them), the environment (where you are doing in the activity), and the activity (what you are doing) to find out how to best enable the person to be as independent as possible and to reach their goals.

A photo of a young person participating in Occupational Therapy
A photo of a young person participating in Occupational Therapy

What does ‘occupation’ mean in occupational therapy?

The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) described the ‘occupation’ of occupational therapy perfectly:

“In occupational therapy, occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families, and with communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. Occupations include things people need to want to and are expected to do”.

We all experience occupations differently based on personal preferences, our ideas of ‘fun’ and ‘work’, our upbringings, abilities, location, age, spirituality, values, and culture. E.g. some people may find meaning and enjoyment in going to the gym, while others think it’s a major chore, and some might have alternative methods of exercising due to disabilities.

How can I work as an occupational therapist?

To work in Australia as an occupational therapist, they must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and complete a range of requirements each year.

As part of the therapeutic process an occupational therapist may complete a range of assessments to support with goal setting and to provide information needed to complete therapy to meet the person’s needs.

Occupational therapists can work across a range of settings and complete visits in the home, community, school, clinic, aged-care facility and hospital settings. Occupational therapists can work in specialist areas such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • Paediatrics
  • Mental health
  • Vision impairment
  • Oncology
  • Palliative care
  • Neurological rehabilitation (people who have experienced a stroke, and acquired brain injury, or living with dementia/Alzheimer’s, and neurological diseases)
  • Orthopaedic rehabilitation
  • Occupational rehabilitation (returning to employment)

Some examples of how an occupational therapist may support you to reach you goals include: developing fine motor skills to enable you to dress independently or complete handwriting tasks, prescribe equipment to support mobility in the community, or practice skills required to complete tasks such as catching transport or going to the shops.

Occupational therapists can recommend and support with home modifications to allow a person to access their home and be able to live as safely in their home as possible, and they can support with identifying occupations that could lead to injuries or difficulties and show you a safer or different way to perform these tasks.

A photo of a child participating in Occupational Therapy
A photo of a child participating in Occupational Therapy

How do I get access to an occupational therapist?

Here at Samaritans, we have occupational therapists who have skills and experience in Paediatric and Community-Based Occupational Therapy.

Our team have experience supporting children and young adults with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, genetic conditions, chromosomal disorders, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, trauma, oppositional defiance disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Our team can complete a range of standardised and non-standardised assessments based on your child’s needs and goals.

We provide services in the home, school, clinic, and community.

We have clinics based in Woodrising and Telarah in NSW.

Your Occupational Therapy supports can be funded by various sources depending on your situation and age, and can include payment through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Medicare or self-funded.

Samaritans occupational therapists can work with you to reach your goals and live a meaningful life. We can even partner with your family, school, or workplace to achieve these goals so we can support you in all aspects of life!

If you'd like to get in touch with an occupational therapist through Samaritans, please call us today on 1300 656 336, or get in touch with our support team at supportadvisor@samaritans.org.au

We'd love to help!

Contact us today for occupational therapist assistance in Newcastle, the Hunter & Central Coast. We're always here to help.