Who Can Benefit From Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a form of therapy that seeks to maintain the quality of life for individuals who have suffered illness, disability, or injury. This is mainly achieved through the evaluation, intervention, and therapeutic exercise of every day activities. Individuals throughout the lifespan can participate and benefit from Occupational Therapy.
Occupational Therapy is performed by Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs), with OTAs being under the direction and supervision of a licensed OT.
Who Can Benefit?
- Autism – Children with autism can benefit greatly from Occupational Therapy. Once evaluated, the OT will initiate programs, exercises, and activities, to help a child with autism gain skills needed in everyday life. These can include coordination, awareness, communication, and social behavior exercises.
- Motor Skills (Fine & Gross) – Fine motor skills are small movements that use small muscles needed in the fingers, lips, toes, wrists etc. While Gross motor skills are large movements such as walking, climbing, jumping that use larger muscle groups in the arms, legs, torso, hips, etc. Children can often have deficiencies in these areas and lack the proper coordination needed in everyday home-life and school. Occupational Therapy can help develop the muscle strength, coordination, balance, and motor learning needed for everyday activities, and a better quality of life.
- Home Modifications – Occupational Therapy for the elderly promotes self reliance and participation in every day life. One area OT’s can assist seniors is within home modification, which not only promotes independence, but most importantly safety and security. This can include: shower and bath modifications, installed ramps, custom cabinets, and automatic lighting. The goal of home modifications is to create a safe environment where individuals can participate in everyday activities with out fear of injury, or excessive barriers.
- Promotes Health – As we age, memory loss, injury, illness, and muscle weakness can negatively affect our quality of life. Occupational Therapy can promote a healthier lifestyle through evaluation and exercise. One way is by preventing falls, which can result in severe injury. By addressing bone/muscle fragility, and coordination issues, these dangerous falls can be avoided. In addition, by addressing early signs of memory loss, OT’s can help slow the rate of cognitive decline through behavioral and observational modifications.
- Chronically Ill or In Pain – Chronic pain and illness effects a vast number of Americans every year, creating suffering not only for those directly affected, but loved ones as well. Occupational Therapists can help identify and set goals for those suffering, to help achieve a better quality of life. A rehabilitation plan can include pain control, pacing (self-regulation of energy output), communication, educating on safe body mechanics, and identifying harmful environmental factors.