Occupational therapists (OTs) help people improve, develop, recover or maintain their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. The therapist helps clients to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities and also to compensate for permanent loss of function. They work closely with people who have mental, physical, developmental or emotionally disabling conditions. These disabilities are caused by birth defects, injuries, illnesses or aging. In all cases, they meet with patients and evaluate their current skills and abilities. Occupational therapists set rehabilitation goals that are realistic for each patient.