Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Castle, Nancy M.

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders


The rehabilitative science of Occupational Therapy (OT) has undergone extreme changes since its conception. What first began as a departure from traditional segregation and institutionalization of those with physical and mental disabilities has now developed into a refined service that can be utilized by individuals with an array of disabilities. The maturation of OT occurred as the medical needs of World War I (WWI) demanded an increased need to rehabilitate the wounded soldiers and veterans who sustained disabilities. While post WWI OT played a critical role, support for the profession was still lacking until long after the completion of the war. Most Occupational Therapists (OTs) in the United States could summarize the history of OT with ease but many people do not realize the impact that the United States Government and Military had in transforming OT into a respected science. It was not until the end of WWI that society began to see people with disabilities in a different perspective and sequentially, OT matured to fit the needs of the country. The United States Government and Military have played a significant role in the rehabilitation of its wounded soldiers and in the development and advancement of OT. Although historically, the profession had not been given enough respect, modem OT is now seen as a critical member of the rehabilitation team.


13 pages




Northern Illinois University

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