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What Is Occupational Therapy?

This kind of therapy focuses on helping treat injured, ill, or disables individuals. It mainly targets problems within areas of physical, sensory, or cognitive origin. They use reinforcement and development of daily living skills to help individuals regain independence in all areas of their lives.

These everyday activities may include life skills such as, dressing, eating, bathing, and relating to others.

This kind of therapy is available to individuals of all ages. It can range from helping children with disabilities become more independent to helping people who need to relearn every-day skills. 


When is it applied?

Occupational therapy programs are for individuals who are trying to live life to its fullest extent. Occupational therapists can help children with disabilities participate in home and school activities. They can help people who are recovering from an injury regain essential skills. This kind of therapy can also be used to help older individuals who are experiencing cognitive and physical changes.

Occupational therapists help people with barriers that affect a person’s physical, emotional, or social needs.

Some kids or teens that may need and benefit from occupational therapy services include children who;

  • have sensory processing disorder (SPD)
  • traumatic injuries to the brain
  • traumatic injuries to the spinal cord
  • learning problems
  • Autism
  • mental health problems
  • behavioral problems
  • post-surgical conditions
  • Cancer
  • severe hand injuries

The list is extensive because occupational therapy is a service that helps people become more self sufficient. 


How is it different from physical therapy?

Both of these therapies help improve people’s quality of life. The difference lies in exactly what each of these therapies target.

Physical therapy helps people deal with;

  • Pain
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Large Muscle Movement
  • Joint Range Of Motion
  • Strength
  • Endurance

Wherein Occupational Therapy helps people with;

  • Visual Perceptual Skills: These are the skills required for the brain to make sense of what it is seeing. They are important when it comes to being able to dress, eat, write, or play (interac).
  • Cognitive Skills: Core skills the brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, pay attention, and reason. They are the skills needed to accept information and apply it. 
  • Sensory Processing Skills: The way each person’s nervous system receives information from the senses and turns them into our response.
  • Fine Motor Skills: These are small muscle movements.

What will the therapy process look like?

This therapy usually includes services such as:

  • An individualized evaluation
  • A customized intervention
  • An evaluation 

The individualized evaluation is what helps your team/therapist come up with your goals. With the family, or yourself, the therapist will evaluate your different skills or problems that need to be overcome. 

After the evaluation comes the customized intervention plan. This plan is catered to each individual. It’ll include what is needed (the actions or steps) to improve the areas that need help.

Lastly, how will the therapists evaluate whether you have reached the desired goals?  Through the outcomes evaluation. That is where your therapist will decide whether your goals have been met.

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