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New Jersey Occupational Therapy Scope of Practice

New Jersey’s Definition of Occupational Therapy

"Occupational therapy" means the evaluation, planning and implementation of a program of purposeful activities to develop or maintain functional skills necessary to achieve the maximal physical or mental functioning, or both, of the individual in his daily occupational performance. The tasks of daily living may be threatened or impaired by physical injury or illness, developmental deficits, sensorimotor dysfunction, psychological and social dysfunction, the aging process, poverty, or cultural deprivation. Occupational therapy utilizes task oriented activities adapted to prevent or correct physical or emotional deficits as well as to minimize the disabling effects of those deficits on the life of the individual. Occupational therapy services include the use of specific techniques which enhance functional performance and include, but are not limited to, the evaluation and assessment of an individual's self care, lifestyle performance patterns, work skills, performance related cognitive, sensory, motor, perceptual, affective, interpersonal and social functioning, vocational and prevocational capacities, the design, fabrication and application of adaptive equipment or prosthetic or orthotic devices, excluding dental devices, the administration of standardized and nonstandardized assessments, and consultation concerning the adaptation of physical environments for the handicapped. These services are provided to individuals or groups through medical, health, educational and social systems.

"Purposeful activities" means acts and occupations of craftsmanship and workmanship, as well as creative, educational, or other activities, which in whole or in part are used to correct, compensate for or prevent dysfunction in the tasks and activities of everyday living, and which simultaneously incorporate personally and culturally relevant biological, psychological and social elements that produce positive adaptation and motivational behavior.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice of a licensed occupational therapist shall include:

    • The provision of direct, indirect and/or consultative services to a client affected by physical, psycho-social, cognitive, congenital and/or developmental disorders or the aging process, to improve and/or prevent loss of physical or mental functioning and to promote wellness;
    • The administration of standardized and/or non-standardized assessments and/or the observation of a client and the environment to identify areas of functional abilities or deficits. Areas, which may be assessed shall include the performance of activities of daily living, including recreation, leisure or work related skills, which are affected by sensory, motor, developmental, perceptual, cognitive and/ or psycho-social abilities;
    • The interpretation of the results of the assessment process to determine the need for an intervention plan for the client. Such a plan shall be developed and administered by the occupational therapist in collaboration with the client, the client's family and related medical, health, educational or social agencies or professionals;
    • The development and utilization of, and education and training in, purposeful, task-oriented activities for the client to improve, restore and/or maintain optimal performance of life skills, roles and functions including work, recreation, leisure skills and activities of daily living;
    • The design, fabrication, application and/or selection of adaptive equipment, prosthetics and/or orthotic devices, except dental devices;
    • Consultation concerning the adaptation of physical environments; and
    • The utilization of physical agent modalities, as an adjunct to, or in preparation for, purposeful activities to enhance occupational performance with which the licensee is familiar as a result of training and experience.

Advanced Practice

Physical Agent Modalities


N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.53

N.J.A.C. § 13:44K-5.1

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