What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a health profession that focuses on the empowerment and facilitation of people of all ages facing difficulties participating in meaningful activities of everyday living (i.e. occupations).

The term “occupation” used in occupational therapy refers to various activities of everyday living that an individual finds meaningful. These activities include and are not limited to self-care, play, leisure, school and work.

Occupational therapists work with people with a range of conditions and of various ages, from cradle to grave. Occupational therapists in Singapore also work in a diverse range of settings including hospitals, social service agencies, schools or private practices.

Occupational therapists will consider the holistic aspect of a person, that is their physical, socio-emotional, and mental/cognitive needs that could impact their recovery process and help them achieve the goals that are most important to them. The work of an occupational therapist may differ depending on the population they work with.

Areas where occupational therapy can be applied:

OT in the News!

Hear our Occupational Therapists share their experiences, stories, and what motivates them to continue #drivingimpact for the health and well-being of different communities!

Occupational Therapy and Children & Youths

Occupational therapy focuses on play, school, and social participation functions when it comes to children and young people. Occupational therapy can assist infants, children and young people to play, socialise and learn in their respective environment. Occupations (i.e. meaningful activities) that occupational therapists focus on for this young population may include but are not limited to self-care (wearing clothes, toothbrushing, eating, toileting), school related activities (handwriting, packing of bags) and leisure participation (playing with friends).

Occupational therapists will work closely with parents, caregivers and educators of the child in order to facilitate their participation in school, community, and at home.

Jeanette Suen, an experienced Pediatric Occupational Therapist in private practice shares more on her work!

Check out Xin Hui’s work as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist in KKH here!

Occupational Therapy and Physical Disabilities

Occupational therapy can assist people with physical disabilities (both from birth and acquired) to achieve independent living skills, reintegrate into the community, and explore meaningful productive roles. Physical disabilities can include conditions such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and amputees. Occupational therapists will work on several areas such as self-care, community mobility, home modifications and return-to-work facilitation.

Check out some interesting anecdotes about Occupational Therapists’ role in promoting participation across different life domains:

Driving Rehabilitation

A Day in the Life of a Driving Rehab OT - Part 1

A Day in the Life of a Driving Rehab OT - Part 2

Hand Rehabilitation

A Day in the Life of a Hands OT


A Day in the Life of a Outpatient Neurology OT

Occupational Therapy and The Elderly

Occupational therapy focuses on maintaining the health and facilitating continuous independence of the elderly individual. Occupational therapists provide support such as home modification, fall prevention measures and activities modification for individuals in their self-care activities. Occupational therapists also look at the quality of life and mental well-being of the elderly through encouraging social participation in the community.

Hear from Priscilla about her role as a Home-Based OT, empowering seniors and their families from within the community!

Also check out Charmaine’s work as an Occupational Therapist in a Day Rehab Centre!

Occupational Therapy and Mental Health

Occupational therapy in mental health focuses on empowering and facilitating individuals in establishing a meaningful everyday routine and improving quality of life in their recovery. Occupational therapists will work on areas such as self-care routines, money management, employment preparation and training, advocating for self and emotional management.

Take a look at Kamesh’s sharing on her role as a Mental Health Occupational Therapist!

Also, Nur Atiqah shares passionately about her work in a Day Activity Centre:

Part 1 & Part 2

  • Creating continuous learning opportunities for all

  • Being an Occupational Therapist in the Community:

  • A heart for the elderly

  • Building capability beyond Singapore’s shores

  • Supporting seniors to age well in their communities


  • Learning about Palliative Care through an Escape Room

  • Collaborating towards Tech-Enabled Rehabilitation:

  • Empowering People with Low Vision