Occupational therapy must present themselves with confidence and tell the society that they have skills that can help to solve social problems, believes Elizabeth Townsend, world renowned professor from Canada.

Meaningful activities a right for everyone

Published: 14 November 2013

Occupational therapy globally must dare to take place in society, says Elizabeth Townsend, world-renowned Canadian professor of occupational therapy and occupational science.
-We must take part in society so we can change it so that people who has been deprived of participation can find a way to be respected and participate, she says in an interview.

-We must think broadly with confidence that our knowledge is useful for addressing major social problems, says Elzabeth Townsend.

-I think we are faced with challenges both inside the occupational therapy and also outside. And for that we ourselves must take the initiative. It is the biggest challenge for us.

One of the challenges is to spread knowledge about occupational therapy outside its traditional area,  Elizabeth Townsend says.

-I think we need to find ways for therapists to become engaged in the areas of employment, housing, transport and so on. Today we are mostly linked to the health sector.

-We have to present what we can do and at the same time, we must find new partners. An example would be train or bus company. Suddenly one day saying someone who heard about what we can: it would be great to have an occupational therapist employed.
-Occupational could look at questions like how old people, parents with children and pushchairs, using trains and buses, and how accessibility can be improved, both in terms of timetables and how people can find their way, said Elizabeth Townsend.