Welcome to the WA Occupational Therapy Association Inc – WAOTA

As acting President of the WA Occupational Therapy Association, I would like to welcome you to our website. Within this website you will find information regarding the profession of Occupational Therapy (OT), information for OT students and therapists, how to locate an OT in your area and also relevant information specific to members of the WA Occupational Therapy Association.

For Western Australian Registered Occupational Therapists, OT Support Staff and students, never before has there been a more beneficial time to join your professional Association. This web site will give you an insight into the many benefits of becoming a member of the Association.

New features being added for use by Members include a personalised logging system to access Scientific Journals and Systematic Evidence Based Reviews through access to Proquest Nursing and Allied Health.

For more information or enquiries regarding how the Association can be of assistance to you, please contact the WAOTA office either via email: info@waota.com.au or phone (08) 9388 1490

Sally Wojnar-Horton
Acting President
WA Occupational Therapy Association


Occupational therapy was first practised in Western Australia in 1942, during the Second World War at the 110th Military Hospital, which in 1947 became the Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood. During the late 1940s new departments were opened. The first being the Wooroloo State Sanitorium and in 1947 the Rehabilitation section of the Department of Social Services. Towards the end of 1950 a department was established at the Crippled Children’s Association and a year later at Princess Margaret Hospital for children.

In July 1949, the three practising OTs in WA formed a group, the Occupational Therapist’s Club, which was the forerunner of the Western Australian Occupational Therapy Association. The group was formally constituted in November 1952 and accepted the following year into the National Body – Australian Association of Occupational Therapists. The inaugural meeting of WAOTA was held in October 1953. The members were busy lobbying MP’s to set up a training school and to register occupational therapists by Act of Parliament. However it was four years later, in October 1957, before the Act became law in WA. The newly formed Board approached the Royal Perth Hospital requesting facilities for a school, which was opened in February 1961 with nine students. Later when there was re-badging of the organisations to Occupational Therapy Australia, the WA division became OTA (WA). In 2005, the National body mooted the suggestion that the Federated body become a single entity. On advise from the medical, dental and allied health associations, WA voted unanimously against a single entity and for retention of the federated model. Since 2009, WAOTA has continued under its original entity title Western Australian Occupational Therapy Association.

Up until the 1960’s occupational therapists in WA had either trained interstate or had come from overseas. The numbers of local graduates steadily increased with the new school at Royal Perth Hospital which merged into WAIT in 1966. Occupational therapy departments were established in all metropolitan hospitals and institutions. They provided services to all age groups and to people of with all types of disabilities. Rural services were expanded and in the mid 1980’s private practices were established.

Today there are two university courses offered in WA, and over 2,000 registered occupational therapists working in settings such as hospitals, industry, schools, local government, urban and rural communities. OTs have carved a niche in newer areas of clinical practice such as soft tissue, driver assessment and training, medico-legal consultancy, emergency medicine and hippotherapy to name just a few.

Although WA has registered occupational therapists since 1957, it was not until 2012 that the profession of occupational therapy moved to National Registration under the auspices of AHPRA, signifying the title and an area of practice requiring specialty training. Occupational therapy continues to be a growing and thriving profession, gaining recognition in both traditional and non-traditional areas of practice.

Compiled by Ann Whyntie
July 2001

Updated by Sandra Kevill
January 2018


The WA Occupational Therapy Association (Inc.) is governed by our Constitution, which is a body of fundamental principles that guides our processes and responsibilities. To read our Constitution, please click on the following link:

WA Occupational Therapy Association (Inc) (WAOTA) Constitution 2018

Our Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the links below to find out the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

What is Occupational Therapy?
What do Occupational Therapists do?
Who do Occupational Therapists work with?
Where do Occupational Therapists work?
How can I become an Occupational Therapist in WA?
Can I do work experience with an Occupational Therapist in a hospital?
How can I become an Occupational Therapy Assistant?
Why should I join the WA Occupational Therapy Association?
How can I become more involved in my Association?
How can I find out information about registering to work as an Occupational Therapy in Australia?
Committee of Management


Held By

President Sally Wojnar-Horton
Vice President Tanya Lyttle
Treasurer Sandy Kevill
Professional Standards Portfolio Sally Wojnar-Horton
Corporate Services Portfolio Sandy Kevill
Marketing Portfolio Renee Sloot / Karen Stiles/ Danae Van Asselt
Private Practice Representative Sandy Kevill/Cathy Thomas
Research & Development Portfolio Vacant
Rural and Remote Michelle Carrington
Newsletter Committee Lynda Quigley / Rebekah Wilson / Rebecca Walton
New Graduate Liaison Representatives Sarah Hoy
OT Student Representative Dimity Taylor


Specialty Areas of OT

Occupational Therapists have an essential role in helping people of all ages to overcome disabilities resulting from illness, ageing or accident so they can perform daily living tasks that they need and want to do. To be able to provide the assessment and intervention specific to the disabilities experienced, occupational therapists gain knowledge and skills in specialty area of practice.

The following provides a broad overview of specialty areas of practice in occupational therapy:

Support Staff

Resources for Support Staff coming soon…