Research Article
Issue Date: November/December 2018
Published Online: October 10, 2018
Updated: April 30, 2020
Neurocognitive Rehabilitation: Skills or Strategies?
Author Affiliations
  • Gordon Muir Giles, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA, and Director of Neurobehavioral Services, Crestwood Treatment Center, Fremont, CA;
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Neurologic Conditions / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture
Research Article   |   October 10, 2018
Neurocognitive Rehabilitation: Skills or Strategies?
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2018, Vol. 72, 7206150010.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, October 2018, Vol. 72, 7206150010.

The author describes personal and professional milestones in becoming an occupational therapist and his early experience in the first behavior disorder program for neurologically based aggression in the world. A real clinical example is used to bring these early lessons into vivid focus. New evidence underlines occupational therapists’ unique role in skill–habit training in clients with severe neurological impairment. For clients with milder impairments, irrespective of diagnosis, strategy training may maximize community independence and reduce hospital recidivism. The concept of functional cognition is described as an important development for the profession. Even in an environment of rapid innovation, occupational therapists need to recognize that it is the commonplace activities that have meaning for the individual that really matter. This is both the art and science of occupational therapy, and it will never be superseded by technological innovation because true creativity and genuine empathy cannot be mechanized.