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What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a type of health care that focuses on improving one’s ability to carry out daily activities when health problems interfere. 

An occupational therapist will work closely with you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and will guide you to live life to its fullest, helping you to maintain, regain, or improve your independence using different techniques and equipment.

When is Occupational Therapy used?

Occupational therapy is used to treat and manage a wide range of conditions and needs which include:

  • Depression, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic or constant pain, and chronic fatigue syndromes.
  • Health conditions in children such as cerebral palsy, developmental condition disorder, Down’s syndrome, learning disability and autism.
  • Age-related problems such as difficulty getting out of bed, and conditions related to memory such as dementia.
  • Rehabilitation and recovery.

What does Occupational Therapy Involve?

Occupational therapy involves a combination of different techniques and equipment. Some of the techniques taught include:

  • Approaching how you perform activities in a different way: For example, if you are having problems cutting vegetables, your OT might suggest you buy pre-cut vegetables from the store. If going out to shop is a problem for you, you might be advised to do internet shopping and have groceries delivered to your home.  Your therapist might also suggest new ways of performing an activity. 
  • Making an environment suitable for your needs: The environment maybe your home, office or study place. Changes may involve placing wheelchair ramps, installing grab rails, installing a stairlift or providing a raised toilet seat.
  • Using special tools or equipment: Your therapist might offer you new ideas to be used in everyday life such as using a walking stick or wheelchair, or a non-slip mat for bathing. For using a computer your therapist might suggest a specially adapted keyboard or mouse.

Do not hesitate to mention any difficulties to your OT, as there are many solutions they can suggest that can make your life easier.

Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is a treatment method designed to facilitate recovery after a serious injury, illness or surgery. It is aimed at restoring the physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and social functions of the patient. The goal of a rehab program varies depending on the patient's needs but is generally aimed at achieving a quick recovery. This program assists the patient to return to normal life through therapy or training.

Occupational therapy focuses on helping you get the most out of life. It is recommended for people who cannot resume their normal activities following an injury or surgery.