Occupational therapists assist their patients develop the skills they need to perform the basic functions within their lives. Typically, this involves working with people who are physically, mentally, or emotionally challenged. With proper training and guidance, these people can learn to be more self sufficient and to meet more, or all, of their own needs.
The range of tasks taught can include basic work skills to enable a peson to be successful in their job, to basic home skills to enable a person to take care of their own needs at home. Occupational therapists help their patients learn to live with their limiations and devise strategies to get around them. For example, a patient may be asked to perform a set of exercises on a regular basis (much as a physical therapist might recommend) to overcome a physical limiation.
Occupational therapists will also consult with other people in the lives of their patients to help them understand the ways in which they can assist. For exmaple, the therapist might talk to a patient's boss and recommend some changes in the daily work routine that will help the patient contribute more at their job.