Credentials Display

Lenin C. Grajo, PhD, EdM, OTR/L
Sharon A. Gutman, PhD, OTR, FAOTA


In this Opinions in the Profession article we aim to uniquely articulate the distinct value of and need for functional literacy development in the clients we serve. Functional literacy, as coined in this article, is the ability to interpret common written materials needed to effectively carry out basic daily life skills and participate in meaningful occupations and social roles. We propose three specific strategies through which occupational therapists, across practice settings, developmental stages, and populations, can assume active roles in literacy support as it is embedded in occupation: literacy (a) as a form of occupational justice promotion; (b) as an approach to health facilitation, well-being, and adaptive capacity; and (c) as a means to strengthen social connectedness. As the emerging practice area of functional literacy grows, intervention guidelines will need to be established and assessed for effectiveness with specific populations. We urge occupational therapists to begin to consider functional literacy in all client assessment and intervention services.


The authors report they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.