Most people don’t understand what occupational therapy is. Occupational therapy (OT) is often used to help people recover from an injury or to regain cognitive skills. It also provides support to older adults who start experiencing cognitive and physical changes. Most often, though, OT is used to help children with disabilities.
At its core, OT is about helping people achieve their goals and learning to live life to its maximum potential. Most simply, it is defined by using someone’s everyday activities as a means of therapy for the body and mind. This type of practice allows children and adults with disabilities to fully participate in school and work activities, respectively, as well as others that their peers tend to enjoy.
In addition, an intervention style therapy is conducted to help the client live life to its potential, improve the ability to perform daily activities and make sure the client has the highest chances of reaching goals.
Occupational Therapy is about helping people achieve their goals and live life to its maximum potential.
OT is a very individualized experience that truly revolves around the patient. The therapy routine is determined by what the patient reveals during the interview process. A typical evaluation would be individualized with the therapist sitting with the client and family members in order to get broad as well as specific ideas of what the client and family want to get out of the experience and what their goals are for the future. Often times, OT also requires an evaluation of the home and other environments that the client frequents, such as workplace or school. Because of the individualization provided, it is important to have consistent re-evaluations to see how the client is doing with therapy and to re-align regular routines as abilities improve.
In addition to focusing on the client, occupational therapy includes educating and guiding family members, who are always an integral part of the equation simply because they are around the client on a daily basis. It is very important to educate the family as to how to care for their injured or disabled family member in the most appropriate manner.
Contrary to modern Western medicine, OT embraces more of a holistic approach and believes in adapting to the client’s environment. It is helpful to ensure that clients are comfortable in their living environments while making sure that their space allows them to function fully and at their best.
By Dr. Ritu Goel