Monday, 1 August 2011

Componenets of Function and Applied Function that an OT Works with

A common question asked regarding occupational therapy (O.T.) is:
 " What areas of function or dysfunction does an OT deal with?"

The book "Orientation to Occupational Therapy - A Fundamental Approach to Principles and Practicalities" by Stella W Mountford provides a list that is worth repeating here.

As outlined by Stella Mountford,
I Occupational Therapists are concerned with the following components of function in their clients:

A Physical
1) Primary :
  •  Senstion including the special senses
  •  Joint range and muscle strength
  •  Muscle tone and reflex activity
  •  Balance and posture

2) Secondary:
  •  Co-ordination
  •  Endurance (muscular / physiological)
  •  Hand function
  •  Gait and mobility

B. Perceptual - Cognitive
  •  Levels of consciousness
  •  Orientation
  •  Attention and concentration
  •  Perception
  •  Praxia
  •  Conceptualisatin and language

C. Psychological
  • Cognition   e.g. comprehension and insight
  • Conation
  • Affect (primary)    e.g. trust and grief.

D. Social 
  • Listening
  • Talking
  • Meshing / conversation
  •  Routines
  • Tactics
  • Attitudes
II Occupational Therapists are also involved with the following applied function in their clients

A Personal Life Skills
  • Self-care  e.g. dressing
  • Domestic e.g. cokkery
  • Community Survivial Skills  e.g. money management
  • Cognitive e.g. planning
B. Work (school or play) Skills
  •  General Abilities e.g. manual dexterity
  • Work Habits (physical and psychological)
  • Work Tolerance
  • Productive Speed 
  • Social Coompetence  e.g. appearance , co-operation

C. Leisure Time
  • Attitudes to use of leisure time
  • Amount of time allocated to leisure
  • Type of leisure time pursuits

D. Social Skills
  •  Interpersonal Behaviour
  • Social Behaviour
  • Role Behaviour
  • Occupational Behaviour
This post has been prepared for you by Shoshanah Shear, Experienced and Licensed Occupational Therapist. Should you have any questions regarding this post, other posts on this blog or Occupational Therapy in general please either email Shoshanah or visit her website.


  1. Thank you for posting this. This clarifies much of what OT is and does. It reaches much further than I knew.

  2. You are welcome, glad the information was beneficial. Yes, Occupational Therapy is a comprehensive and holistic profession, with lots of scope and hence very rewarding usually for both therapist and client. If you have other questions please either post a message on this blog or email me directly to


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