Many confuse occupational therapy with physical therapy; while they’re similar, they differ. Occupational therapy aims to promote and improve a person’s ability to complete daily tasks, increase independence, and improve overall quality of life.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a branch o healthcare that helps individuals of all ages overcome physical, emotional, developmental, and cognitive challenges by engaging people in meaningful activities. Occupational therapists assess their clients’ abilities, limitations, and goals, then develop personalized treatment plans to address specific challenges and promote functional independence.
Overall, occupational therapy focuses on improving a person’s ability to function independently and participate in activities essential for daily life, work, leisure, and overall well-being. The client-centered approach recognizes each individual’s unique needs and goals.
Common Practice Areas of Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy is a diverse profession that addresses various practice areas to help individuals of all ages achieve independence and participate in meaningful activities. The most common areas of practice include:
- Mental Health: Assisting individuals with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD by providing strategies to cope with daily challenges and improve emotional well-being.
- Neurorehabilitation: Working with individuals with neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or brain injuries by improving their motor and cognitive skills to promote independence in daily activities.
- Geriatrics: Working with older adults to address age-related issues such as mobility limitations, joint pain, dementia, and other age-related conditions to improve their quality of life and independence.
- Pediatrics: Working with infants, children, and adolescents to address developmental delays, sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and other conditions that may impact their ability to participate in daily activities and engage in school and social environments.
- Adult Rehabilitation: This practice area focuses on helping adults who have experienced injuries, illnesses, or disabilities regain functional independence in their daily lives, whether it’s due to a stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other medical conditions.
What Happens in Occupational Therapy?
Like everything else, occupational therapy has a flow from start to finish to ensure that each client benefits from it and can continue living independently. Here is what happens during occupational therapy:
- Evaluation & Assessment: Occupational therapists evaluate a client’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social abilities to understand strengths and limitations. This assessment helps in identifying specific areas where the client may need support.
- Goal Setting: Depending on the evaluation, an occupational therapist and client collaborate to set clear and achievable goals tailored to enhance the client’s ability to engage in daily life activities.
- Treatment Planning: Occupational therapists develop individualized treatment plans based on the client’s goals and needs. These plans outline the specific interventions and strategies that will be used to address the client’s challenges.
- Activities & Interventions such as therapeutic exercises, cognitive and social skills training, sensory integration, and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).
- Progress Monitoring: Occupational therapists regularly assess clients’ progress toward their goals and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.
- Collaborations & Education: Therapists often work closely with family members, caregivers, teachers, and other healthcare professionals to provide a holistic approach to care. They also educate clients and their support systems to maximize independence and maintain progress outside therapy sessions.
NADHC provides Occupational Therapy
Our occupational therapists strive to create a fun learning environment for each client to reach success. Clients receive an individualized assessment and treatment plan. The therapist, client, and caregiver decide on goals together. The therapist and client will work together to meet these goals and adjust the treatment plan or goals as needed. Call us today to help improve your or your loved one’s quality of life!