October 2020
Personal Musings on OT Month by Anne Carswell
The month of October was OT Month in Canada. It gave me an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate my profession of occupational therapy.  I thought of the enormous development in occupational therapy since I was a new ‘grad’.  

When I graduated from university in the early 60s, many people called OTs “the basket weaving girls”. There was much anecdotal evidence but little research data to support occupational therapy practice, although we all ‘knew’ that occupation had a positive effect on health and wellbeing.  

In the 1980s, after considerable study, discussion, and contribution from leading clinical therapists, educators and researchers from across Canada, the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance (CMOP) was developed and published. A practice model, the CMOP informed the basis of future Occupational Therapy practice in Canada1

Then, in 1991, with the CMOP as a theoretical practice model, the client-centred measure of occupational performance, the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM), was published. Given the initial reliability and validity, the authors hoped that the experiences of occupational therapists using it would continue to contribute to the knowledge and research evidence of the measure1.  Since then occupational therapy researchers around the world have contributed to its psychometric strength.

This is only one developmental example that demonstrates the advancement of my professional experience from anecdotal information to scientific exploration. Today, Occupational Science underpins current occupational therapy practice. So, my OT Month reflection is that ‘we have come a long way, baby’ through the scientific focus on occupational performance.

  1. Law, M., Baptiste, S., Carswell, A., McColl, M.A., Polatajko, H., & Pollock, N. (1991). Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (1st ed.) Ottawa: CAOT Publications ACE.
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