Occupational Therapy is the only branch of health care that helps people with poor motor skills to perform their daily activities after their recovery from injuries, illness, or disability. It teaches people of all ages to adapt to the circumstances to perform any task at home, school, or workplace. OT is a client-centered profession that enables people to participate in daily life activities by promoting their health and well-being through occupation. Below is the detailed guideline on occupational therapy and its importance.
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What is Occupational Therapy?
As an allied health profession, it helps people with physical, sensory, or cognitive problems to regain independence in various fields of life to fulfill their emotional, social, and physical needs. Occupational therapy is a blessing for patients of all ages because it restores their competence to go with the daily routine without any barrier.
Differences between Occupational and Physical Therapy
The main focus of physical and occupational therapy is rehabilitative care. Still, some differences exist between these two. While physical therapy helps you improve your mobility, movement, and function, occupational therapy focuses on daily tasks’ performance by repairing motor and cognitive skills. A physical therapist achieves his goal through various exercises, stretches, and various other physical activities, while an occupational therapist tries to optimize the home, work, or school environment for you.
Physical therapy helps with pain, strength, endurance, joint range of motion, and gross motor skills. In contrast, occupational therapy helps with fine motor skills, visual and perceptual skills, cognitive skills, and sensory processing issues.
Effects of Occupational Therapy on Quality of Life
The main focus of occupational therapy is to optimize the home, school, or work environment or teach the patient to adapt to the circumstances. It leaves positive effects on the quality of life because it enhances the patients’ ability to perform daily tasks like bathing, cooking, eating, drinking, grooming, moving, and much more. This therapy helps people regain their skills and overcome their weaknesses that hinder the abilities to live your life to the fullest. An occupational therapist teaches your body to adapt to the changing home or work environment through building and improving your fine motor skills and cognitive abilities. In simple words, it revolutionizes the quality of your life.
Various Types of Occupational Therapy
As we know that occupational therapy helps people of all ages under different circumstances, the therapists can choose to specialize in any one of the below specialties. Depending on clients’ needs, occupational therapy has the following types.
- Aquatic therapeutic exercise
- Assistive technology
- Brain Injuries therapy
- Driving and community mobility
- Environmental modification
- Feeding, eating, and swallowing
- Hand therapy
- Low vision
- Mental health
- Neurodevelopmental treatment
- Physical rehabilitation
- School systems
- Seating and mobility
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Clinical anxiety treatment
Where and How an Occupational Therapist Work?
An occupational therapist has much employment scope because it helps people of all ages in a wide range of physical and psychosocial areas. However, the primary employment places include hospitals, clinics, schools, daycare centers, rehabilitation centers, home care programs, mental health facilities, children’s clinics, industry, and private enterprises. Assessment, planning, intervention, and cooperation are the stages of an occupational therapist’s work. An occupational therapist uses standard procedures, interviews, and observations to process assessments again and again. The most crucial step of his work is the intervention that is person-oriented and environmental. The main objective is to facilitate the performance of everyday tasks. He always stresses cooperation and coordination with other professionals, volunteers, and caregivers.
What are the Recommended Assistive Occupational Therapy Devices?
After repeated assessments and observations, an occupational therapist can recommend using various assistive devices to boost the rehabilitation process. However, the selection of the tools depends on the specific difficulties the patients are facing. Below are the recommended devices that a therapist may use for different patients with different ailments.
- Gait trainers
- Pediatric walkers and rollators
- Vestibular therapy devices
- Standing frames
- Pediatric standers
- Special needs strollers
- Pediatric seating
- Special need tricycles
- Screen radars
- Hearing aids
- Restroom aids
- Multisensory devices
- Visual stimulation
- Hand therapy devices
- Gross motor tools
- Environment management aids
- Tactile stimulation devices, and much more.
Who Needs Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy can help kids and teens with birth injuries or defects, sensory processing disorders, traumatic injuries to the brain and spinal cord, learning and memory problems, mental health and behavior issues, broken bones or orthopedic injuries, developmental delays, post-surgical conditions, burns, cancer, traumatic amputations, severe hand, and body injuries, and multiple sclerosis. Patients with any chronic illness may also need occupational therapy.
Role of Occupational Therapy in Child Development
Usually, children pass through new experiences and stimulations every day. If left unattended, these can affect their social skills, cognitive growth, and even their small muscles’ development. Early intervention therapy programs can prove beneficial for children suffering from a high probability of delays that affects their physical and mental growth. These early treatment programs are also a blessing for children with autism or down syndrome. Here, it is pertinent to mention that each occupational therapy session will satisfy children’s specific needs arising from various health issues.
How can Occupational Therapy help you with Specific Challenges?
Children and aged people with specific health issues need frequent occupational therapy. Therapists assess and observe those issues and recommend using a particular tool and technique to overcome that issue to enable them to face life’s challenges. Dyspraxia is one of those specific challenges that cause development issues in kids. A therapist can help them overcome this issue by using a wide range of activities. Occupational therapy is also vital for babies with sensory processing issues. The use of a special diet and specific exercises can improve sensory skills.
All the above facts are enough to prove that occupational therapy is vital for people of all age groups suffering from various physical, mental, and visual problems. An experienced occupational therapist can recommend using multiple tools and techniques to satisfy their needs.
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