In this chapter, the following terms shall have the respective meanings provided in this section unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:
(1) ASSOCIATION. The Alabama Occupational Therapy Association.
(2) BOARD. The Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy.
(3) LICENSE. A valid and current certificate of registration issued by the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy.
(4) OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY.
a. The practice of occupational therapy means the therapeutic use of occupations, including everyday life activities with individuals, groups, populations, or organizations to support participation, performance, and function in roles and situations in home, school, workplace, community, and other settings. Occupational therapy services are provided for habilitation, rehabilitation, and the promotion of health and wellness to those who have or are at risk for developing an illness, injury, disease, disorder, condition, impairment, disability, activity limitation, or participation restriction. Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory-perceptual, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts and environments to support engagement in occupations that affect physical and mental health, well-being, and quality of life. The practice of occupational therapy includes:
1. Evaluation of factors affecting activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation including all of the following:
(i) Client factors, including body functions, such as neuromusculoskeletal, sensory-perceptual, visual, mental, cognitive, and pain factors; body structures such as cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, integumentary, genitourinary systems, and structures related to movement; values, beliefs, and spirituality.
(ii) Habits, routines, roles, rituals, and behavior patterns.
(iii) Physical and social environments, cultural, personal, temporal, and virtual contexts, and activity demands that affect performance.
(iv) Performance skills, including motor and praxis, sensory-perceptual, emotional regulation, cognitive, communication, and social skills.
2. Methods or approaches selected to direct the process of interventions such as:
(i) Establishment, remediation, or restoration of a skill or ability that has not yet developed, is impaired, or is in decline.
(ii) Compensation, modification, or adaptation of activity or environment to enhance performance, or to prevent injuries, disorders, or other conditions.
(iii) Retention and enhancement of skills or abilities without which performance in everyday life activities would decline.
(iv) Promotion of health and wellness, including the use of self-management strategies, to enable or enhance performance in everyday life activities.
(v) Prevention of barriers to performance and participation, including injury and disability prevention.
3. Interventions and procedures to promote or enhance safety and performance in activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), rest and sleep, education, work, play, leisure, and social participation including all of the following:
(i) Therapeutic use of occupations, exercises, and activities
(ii) Training in self-care, self-management, health management and maintenance, home management, community/work reintegration, and school activities and work performance.
(iii) Development, remediation, or compensation of neuromusculoskeletal, sensory-perceptual, visual, mental, and cognitive functions, pain tolerance and management, and behavioral skills.
(iv) Therapeutic use of self, including one's personality, insights, perceptions, and judgments, as part of the therapeutic process.
(v) Education and training of individuals, including family members, caregivers, groups, populations, and others.
(vi) Care coordination, case management, and transition services.
(vii) Consultative services to groups, programs, organizations, or communities.
(viii) Modification of environments, including home, work, school, or community, and adaptation of processes, including the application of ergonomic principles.
(ix) Assessment, design, fabrication, application, fitting, and training in seating and positioning, assistive technology, adaptive devices, training in the use of prosthetic devices, orthotic devices, and the design, fabrication and application of selected splints or orthotics.
(x) Assessment, recommendation, and training in techniques to enhance functional mobility, including management of wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
(xi) Low vision rehabilitation when the patient or client is referred by a licensed optometrist, a licensed ophthalmologist, a licensed physician, a licensed assistant to physician acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement, or a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician.
(xii) Driver rehabilitation and community mobility.
(xiii) Management of feeding, eating, and swallowing to enable eating and feeding performance.
(xiv) Application of physical agent modalities, and use of a range of specific therapeutic procedures such as wound care management, interventions to enhance sensory-perceptual and cognitive processing, and manual therapy, all to enhance performance skills.
(xv) Facilitating the occupational performance of groups, populations, or organizations through the modification of environments and the adaptation of processes.
b. An occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant is qualified to perform the above activities for which they have received training and any other activities for which appropriate training or education, or both, has been received. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no occupational therapy treatment programs to be rendered by an occupational therapist, occupational therapy assistant, or occupational therapy aide shall be initiated without the referral of a licensed physician, a licensed chiropractor, a licensed optometrist, a licensed assistant to a physician acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement, a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician, a licensed psychologist, or a licensed dentist who shall establish a diagnosis of the condition for which the individual will receive occupational therapy services. In cases of long-term or chronic disease, disability, or dysfunction, or any combination of the foregoing, requiring continued occupational therapy services, the person receiving occupational therapy services shall be reevaluated by a licensed physician, a licensed chiropractor, a licensed optometrist, a licensed assistant to a physician acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement, a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician, a licensed psychologist, or a licensed dentist at least annually for confirmation or modification of the diagnosis. Occupational therapists performing services that are not related to injury, disease, or illness that are performed in a wellness or community setting for the purposes of enhancing performance in everyday activities are exempt from this referral requirement. Occupational therapists employed by state agencies and those employed by the public schools and colleges of this state who provide screening and rehabilitation services for the educationally related needs of the students are exempt from this referral requirement.
c. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as giving occupational therapists the authority to examine or diagnose patients or clients for departures from the normal of human eyes, visual systems or their adjacent structures, or to prescribe or modify ophthalmic materials including, but not limited to, spectacles, contacts, or spectacle-mounted low vision devices.
(5) OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST. A person licensed to practice occupational therapy whose license is in good standing.
(6) OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT. A person licensed to assist in the practices of occupational therapy under the supervision of, or with the consultation of, a licensed occupational therapist whose license is in good standing.
(7) OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AIDE. A person who assists in the delivery of occupational therapy, who works under direct on-site supervision of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant, or both, and whose activities require an understanding of occupational therapy but do not require professional or advanced training in the basic anatomical, biological, psychological, and social sciences involved in the practice of occupational therapy. No activity listed under paragraph a. of subdivision (4) may be performed by an occupational therapy aide.
(8) PERSON. A human person only, not a legal entity.
(9) WITH THE CONSULTATION OF. The collaboration of two or more persons on a regularly scheduled basis for the purpose of planning, review, or evaluation of occupational therapy services.
Last modified: May 3, 2021