World Occupational Therapy Day
Also known as
WFOT Occupational Therapy International Day (until 2009)
Occupational Therapy Day
annually on October 27th (since 2010)
World Occupational Therapy Day promotes and celebrates the occupational therapy profession and heightens its visibility. Occupational therapists take part in activities to promote the profession or an aspect of it today. The day also promotes activities of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) locally, nationally, and around the world. WFOT is "the international voice of the occupational therapy profession." It is an association of national associations, comprised of national occupational therapy professional organizations. Organizations that are part of the WFOT often devote a week or month to occupational therapy during October, with World Occupational Therapy Day taking place during these events.
World Occupational Therapy Day was first held in October 2010. The day was previously known as WFOT Occupational Therapy International Day but was changed by the WFOT at their April 2010 meeting. A different theme is named for the holiday each year, and the WFOT also provides resources, such as a guide, logos and posters for download, and resources for social media. The day takes place concurrently with the OT Global Day of Service, during which occupational therapy practitioners and students volunteer to do community service.
Occupational therapists work in diverse settings such as schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, mental health clinics, and even in homes. This illustrates how they work with people throughout the whole lifespan. They help people participate in activities they want and need to do. These "occupations," which do not just mean employment, are things people do each day, which are known as activities of daily living. Some examples include learning, writing, playing, socializing, driving, shopping, cooking, eating, and dressing. The therapy that is used to help people to do these things involves doing many similar types of activities and tasks.
Occupational therapists may specialize in an area of expertise. For example, they may help children with disabilities to be able to participate in school and social situations, they may help those recovering from an injury to gain back skills, and they may support older adults who are going through physical and cognitive changes. The steps to starting occupational therapy often include an individual evaluation where the person's goals are determined, customized intervention to reach those goals, and an outcomes evaluation to make sure the goals are being met and to assess if changes need to be made to the intervention plan.
The occupational therapy profession was born in the early twentieth century, coming out of the movement to reform mental health care. The profession stemmed from research that showed that patients who were doing "purposeful occupations," like crafts and practical work, had better recovery. The profession officially came about with the formation of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in 1917. Early occupational therapy patients were soldiers who had returned from fighting in World War I.
How to Observe World Occupational Therapy Day
Here are some ideas on how to spend the day:
- Join the World Federation of Occupational Therapists or the Occupational Therapy International Online Network.
- Learn about the American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Send a press release about the day to newspapers, radio stations, or to those who publish hospital or university newsletters.
- Organize a fundraising event for the WFOT such as a quiz, competition, or sports event.
- Organize an event in a school or mall to promote occupational therapy as a career choice.
- If you are part of an occupational therapy association, put information about the day on your website, and incorporate today's event into any week-long or month-long event devoted to occupational therapy you are already observing.
- Volunteer to do some community service as part of OT Global Day of Service. Explore some ideas and then register to take part.
- Become an occupational therapist.
- Find an occupational therapist.