Occupational therapists are medical professionals who assist patients in improving their fine motor skills. They work with people who have injuries, disabilities, illnesses, or other conditions that limit their ability to perform daily activities (occupations).
An occupational therapist (OT) is a healthcare provider who provides meaningful activities to patients and incorporates them into treatment plans, using them therapeutically to restore function. A therapy session will focus on functional restoration, which may include strengthening, performing the task differently, using adaptive equipment, or modifying the environment. Whether the patient is a child born with developmental delays, a construction worker with a hand injury, or an older adult who has survived a stroke, this work helps them gain or regain independence.
OTs work in clinics or schools, follow the medical model and get paid by insurance. But there is a movement in the field right now toward working with marginalized people in community-based settings like homeless shelters, mental health sites in the community, and residential facilities. Though reimbursement can be challenging, these emerging practice areas are exciting opportunities for OTs.
As unique as the people they help are, so are the things occupational therapists do. As an OT, you can work one-on-one with clients to help them get back to doing things they enjoy and make their lives better.
Whom Do Occupational Therapists Help?
- Children and Teens
- Who needs help with fine motor skills
- Who struggle with autism or learning disabilities
- Who have ADHD and want to learn to drive
- Who has trouble eating
- Who needs to learn to self-regulate emotions
- Who is recovering from shoulder surgery
- Who is recovering from a traumatic brain injury
- Who has schizophrenia and wants to get a job
- Who have poor vision
- Who is dealing with workplace injury
- Who is recovering from a stroke
- Who is recovering from a fall and wants to remain at home
- Who have memory problems or dementia
- Who have arthritis
- Who need adaptations in their home
Occupational therapists work with people throughout their lives in various settings, addressing the physical impairments associated with an individual’s condition and the psychological and cognitive aspects.
For example, a stroke affects not just how a person walks; it affects how they think and feel. It can have an effect on how they eat and bathe, as well as their ability to recognize family members. A stroke can impair a person’s ability to live alone, drive a car, work, or care for loved ones. Because everyone is affected differently by different conditions, occupational therapists tailor treatment to each individual.
Occupational therapists work with people of all ages, from babies to adults and seniors. An OT can help a baby who is having difficulty eating, a child who is having trouble writing, or a person with schizophrenia who require help navigating the workforce.
Occupational therapists can specialize in an area and earn a certificate proving their expertise because there are so many ways they can help people. Low vision, assistive technology, breastfeeding, driving and community mobility, feeding, caregiver training, pediatrics, physical rehabilitation, hand therapy, mental health, environmental modifications, and school systems are just a few of the specializations available.
In conclusion, occupational therapy is an incredibly valuable form of therapy that helps individuals with various physical impairments, medical conditions, or injuries improve their levels of functioning and increase their confidence in everyday life. It offers people a wide range of services, from physical therapy instruction to counseling sessions that assist individuals with overcoming challenges they may face due to changes in their health or functioning. With the assistance of an experienced occupational therapist, people can access the support they need to lead more successful lives.
If you are interested in learning more about what an occupational therapist can do for you or have questions about how occupational therapy can benefit you or a loved one, reach out to our experienced therapist today at Elite Health and Wellness. Call us now at (308) 455 1500!