April is Occupational Therapy Month

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a rehabilitative or a habilitative treatment that involves the use of evaluation and intervention to develop, recover, and/or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals, groups, or communities in life.

According to American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), occupational therapists can work with individuals across the lifespan with a variety of needs. Occupational therapists consider the complex relationship between the client, the activity, and the environment in which the activity takes place. Examples of OT interventions include:

  • Helping a child with a disability to participate fully in school and social situations
  • Assisting an injured worker to regain skills they need to function in their job
  • Providing supports to older adults experiencing cognitive or physical changes

What do occupational therapy services include?

Services focus on the client's goals and typically include an individualized evaluation, customized interventions to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

OT services may also include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers.

How do physical therapy and occupational therapy differ?

Physical therapy and occupational therapy both help improve quality of life, but there are differences.

Physical Therapy

Occupational Therapy

·       pain

·       strength

·       joint range of motion

·       endurance

·       gross motor skills (large-muscle movements made with the arms, legs, feet, or entire body)

 

·       fine motor skills (small-muscle movements made with the hands, fingers, and toes, such as grasping)

·       visual-perceptual skills

·       cognitive (thinking) skills

·       sensory-processing problems

 

 

Author: Camryn Hess, M.S. CCC-SLP

 

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