Types of Official Documents

Types of official and other documents (AOTA, 2004) include the following:

I. Types of Official Documents

  • Concept Papers—Provide a thoughtful discussion of an issue or topic, synthesizing varying perspectives to assist members to more thoroughly understand the issue or topic. These documents are developed in response to a particular issue, concern, or need and can be written for internal or external use.
  • Guidelines—Provide descriptions, examples, or recommendations of procedures pertaining to the education and practice of occupational therapy. The Occupational Therapy Practice Guidelines Series has a separate development process and is not included in the official document development or adoption process.
  • Position Papers—Present the official stance of the Association on a substantive issue or subject. They are developed in response to a particular issue, concern, or need of the Association and may be written for internal or external use.
  • Roles Papers—Present a guide to the major roles common in the profession of occupational therapy. The roles listed in these documents are those frequently held by occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants and are not all-inclusive.
  • Specialized Knowledge and Skills Papers—Provide a detailed outline of the specialized knowledge and skills needed for competent practice. Rationale for the development of this type of document is to provide a structure for acquiring competency in an area where there are specialized evaluation and intervention processes.
  • Standards—Include a general description of the topic and define the minimum requirements for performance and quality.
  • Statements—Describe and clarify an aspect or issue related to education or practice and are linked to the fundamental concepts of occupational therapy.

II. Other Types of Documents

  • Societal statements—Written in the form of public announcements, these statements identify a societal issue of concern; state how the issue affects the participation of individuals, families, groups, or communities in society; and may offer action to be taken by individuals, groups, or communities.
  • AOTF information—Although AOTF is separate from AOTA, this information has been included at reader request.


  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2004). COE and COP standard operating procedures—Official documents (Attachment A). (Available from American Occupational Therapy Association, 4720 Montgomery Lane, PO Box 31220, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220)
  • American Occupational Therapy Association. (2007).Definition of official documents. (Adopted by the AOTA Representative Assembly during its 2006 online meeting)

AOTA members can access the official documents here.