Occupational performance is the completion of an occupation or an activity that requires the interaction of the person, the context, and the activity. Many things – including things we have addressed in our OT A to Z Challenge – may support or hinder a person’s occupational performance. For instance, a person’s habits may improve occupational performance by enabling him or her to more proficient at an activity. Conversely, features in a specific context may hinder a person’s occupational performance.
What are examples of occupational performance? Much of what a person needs or wants to do throughout the day constitutes occupational performance – a person getting up and getting ready fro the day, a young child engaged in play behaviors that are necessary to acquire developmental skills, a person participating in a leisure activity or hobby, a student participating in a classroom setting, a person socially interacting with his or her peers to maintain social relationships, a father preparing a meal fro his family, a person balancing his or her bank account in order to manage their finances, a person taking care of a pet…and the list would be nearly endless.
How does an OT address occupational performance? As part of an evaluation, an OT will assess the client’s occupational performance needs and goals, strengths, and problems areas. Occupational performance is often observed in context to identify what supports performance and what hinders performance. Then, the OT will address with the client specific performance skills (sensory, motor, cognitive, etc.), performance patterns (habits, roles, routines), context, and activity demands.
There is probably no other profession that views activities in the way OTs do – as an interdependence between the person, the activity, and the context!