Occupational therapy originated from the arts and crafts movement in the early 1900s. At that time, there was no specific training to become what is now considered an occupational therapist. The need for occupational therapy grew vastly during World War I. Large numbers of wounded soldiers returned home and could no longer resume their daily roles and occupations without assistance. For soldiers still overseas, "bedside occupations" were provided to help keep them engaged in an activity, as photographed in the above image.
Shortly after World War I, the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapy was formed in October of 1920, becoming the first professional association representing occupational therapists in Canada. In 1926, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy was founded, which remains Canada's leading national organization supporting more than 18,000 occupational therapists. In 1932, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists launched the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. Advocacy for occupational therapy services was a great success in the 1930s as service delivery expanded to include vocational training and industrial therapy programs.
During the 1940s and 50s, occupational therapists proved their invaluable support as they helped care for the needs of soldiers returning home after World War II (WWII). It was not until after WWII that occupational therapy became firmly established as a means of developing or maintaining health and medical outcomes. Currently, occupational therapy helps people participate in day-to-day activities and do what they want and need to do.
History of Occupational Therapy in Ontario. Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists. https://bit.ly/3a9jjTg
Judith Friedland; Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation: An Awkward Alliance. Am J Occup Ther 1998;52(5):373–380. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.52.5.373