Activities of Daily Living

The key skilled tasks, and routines that OTs are interested in, covering every aspect of a person’s daily life –

  • Self-care (personal and domestic)
  • Productivity (work – paid and unpaid, study and learning)
  • Recreation and leisure –(fun and social activity)


Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and fear are normal emotional reactions to a perceived threat, when the emotional response is out of proportion to the level of threat, or interferes with activities of daily living (at school, home or going out) then it can be seen as being a difficulty that should be addressed.


Arousal Levels

The different levels of alertness and energy a person can have from being low and under aroused; to being just right for giving focus and attention to activities; to being over alert, distracted and dis-regulated etc.


Asperger Syndrome

A form of autism where a person may have difficulties with social communication, social interaction and social imagination.


Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition effecting the way a person interacts with others and the world around them. It is described as a spectrum because people’s individual presentation is along a continuum of different needs.


Cognitive Processing Difficulties

Difficulties with processing information and knowledge, impacting on perception and learning style and abilities.


Communication Disorders

A broad term covering a wide range of speech and language conditions that will affect how a person interacts with others and expresses themselves in various social situations



A sustained period of low mood, with significant physiological and psychological presentations.


Developmental Co-ordination Disorder

A co-ordination difficulty caused by a range of underlying developmental issues such as poor postural control, poor stability, poor motor control, perceptual difficulties, praxis difficulties, and sensory integration difficulties etc.



A specific learning difficulty often affecting some or all of the following – the ability to read, write and process written information. Dyscalculia is a similar difficulty linked more specifically to numbers and maths problems.



A type of Developmental Co-ordination Disorder where there is a – “Difficulty in planning and carrying out skilled, non-habitual motor tasks in the correct sequence. Praxis includes knowing what to do and how to do it.” Ayres 1989


Learning Disability

A learning disability is a description of a condition that due to impaired intellectual ability the capacity for learning can be limited, and may mean a person has difficulties with a wide range of everyday activities and is a lifelong condition.


Occupational therapy

“Occupational therapy enables people to achieve health, wellbeing and life satisfaction through participation in occupation.” College of Occupational Therapy 2004

A simpler definition of occupational therapy is that it helps people [of all ages and abilities] engage as independently as possible in the activities (occupations) which enhance their health and wellbeing.


Occupational Roles

Occupational Therapists are interested in the roles people have in life. Roles help define the way we organise and develop our daily activity, how we use our time and how we value our contribution to society and the world around us etc.



The way we regularly undertake certain activities form our routines, this could be a daily, weekly, monthly or term time only routine. Understanding a person’s routine is important to Occupational Therapy as the order activities take place in, and the time of day or frequency the activity needs to take place are important to helping improve a person’s performance of activities and participation in meaningful activities.


Sensory Integration

“The process of organizing sensory inputs so that the brain produces a useful body response and also useful perceptions, emotions, and thoughts”. “Organizes information detected by one’s senses (taste, sight, hearing, touch, smell, movement, gravity and position).” Ayres 1995


Sensory Integration Dysfunction or Sensory Processing Disorders

These are both ways to describe the difficulty some people’s nervous systems have taking in, integrating and making use of sensory information. This changes how a person then responds to changes in their own body, the environment and how they interact with it and others around them.



“Psychosis is a symptom of serious mental illness. A person experiencing psychosis loses touch with what is usually accepted as reality. They may feel paranoid, hallucinate, hear voices or have delusions, or have confused thoughts.“ Taken from Young Minds website 2013.



The qualities, skills and abilities of a person that relate to the capacity to manage and regulate mood, emotions, communication, and interactions with other people, it includes emotional and psychological wellbeing.