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What is occupational therapy?

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) supports people to engage with and take part in the activities or 'occupations' that are important and meaningful to them. Occupational therapists assist children and adults to get the most out of life by providing education, skills training and tools and equipment to achieve their goals. 

This helps people to explore new opportunities, build independence and break down barriers. It can also enable them to engage in day-to-day life activities, developing strategies so they can do the things they want, need or have to do.

A tailored occupational therapy approach can achieve specific results for individuals across the entire lifespan in any area of life.

Therapy in the community sector

When working in the community sector (i.e. not in a hospital, education facility or workplace), therapists set goals with customers that align with their values, priorities, current circumstances and NDIS goals. 

Mamre’s occupational therapists provide therapy in whichever medium is needed to help someone make gains towards these goals and aspirations. This can include telehealth, community visits, home visits, school visits and clinic sessions.

What occupational therapy can help with

Occupational therapists can help with:


Self-care is about keeping well and looking after your health. Self-care occupations include all of the skills, tasks and body functions that happen every day, such as eating, sleeping, using the toilet, dressing, moving your body, grooming and looking after yourself. 

School readiness

This includes the skills children need when transitioning into school, related to thinking, playing, being regulated, following instructions and self-management.  

Physical skills

This includes fine and gross motor skills like climbing, walking, jumping, climbing and moving in other ways. 

Social skills

This includes conversation and social connection, thinking, making friends, getting along with peers, self-regulation and understanding social concepts.

Interests and leisure

An occupational therapist can assist someone to know their strengths, explore new activities and overcome barriers to joining in the activities that are meaningful, important and enjoyed.

Sensory regulation

Occupational therapy can enable people to understand their sensory preferences and needs in different places and spaces. Sensory regulation strategies can be developed to promote a person’s ability to remain regulated and support their ability participate and engage in their occupations.

Suitable for any age

Most importantly, occupational therapy is for anyone of any age. Occupational therapists can create a tailored therapy experience to help people achieve their goals while being mindful of their needs. For children, relationship-based early intervention can develop secure family and carer relationships by involving their support network as key partners in therapy. 

Occupational therapy and young children

Occupational therapists work with young children (up to nine years old) to enhance their ability to engage in tasks, or by modifying the task or the environment to better support their occupational engagement. Put simply, this can mean ‘helping make the hard things easier to do’.

Paediatric occupational therapy services enable a young child to develop across all areas, including communication skills, social relationships, movement and physical domains, sensory integration and eating and drinking. 

Every child develops differently. If there are concerns about a child’s development - for example how they move, think about things or stay focused while they play - timely therapy during early childhood years can make all the difference. It can assist to build a child’s capability to participate in everyday life activities independently. 

An occupational therapist can also work with young children and their families to build a solid foundation for future development.

How OTs assist school-aged children 

Learning, play and being part of a family and community are all things that are important to school-aged children. Occupational therapy develops skills and ability in these areas, supporting a young person to engage with daily activities while focusing on their individual needs, strengths and goals. 

One area a therapist can assist with is preparing for school. For example, occupational therapy can help with the skills needed to participate in learning, access communication, move around in the school environment,  write, join in with peers, and transition between tasks and places.

Occupational therapists can also support children of all ages to build independence, such as going to the toilet, getting dressed and eating. They can also work towards understanding emotions, developing social skills, using assistive technology and equipment and more.

Occupational therapy tailored to adults

For adults, occupational therapy can support them to develop the skills they need for working, getting out and about and looking after themselves. An occupational therapist can work with and support adults to meet their goals through a combination of strategies, such as direct skills training, adapting how the person participates and engages in the occupation, modifying the tasks themselves or changing the environment where the tasks are caried out. 

Whether it’s self-care, social skills, daily tasks or sensory regulation, occupational therapy can support adults to build independence and live life their way.

Where to find occupational therapy in Brisbane

Mamre’s occupational therapists, within our Allied Health team based in Brisbane, support people of all ages to engage with daily activities they find meaningful. They are experienced in a range of conditions, including physical disabilities, neuromuscular conditions, developmental delay, intellectual disability and autism.

We support children and adults to achieve their goals and get the most out of life. Whether it’s building new skills or growing confidence, our team will create a tailored therapy approach to achieve the results a person wants.

Therapy is delivered in our allied health rooms at Windsor and community locations.  

Think occupational therapy could be right for you? Get in touch with [email protected] for more information.