This type of treatment can help if you have pain, injury, illness, or a disability that makes it hard for you to do your job or schoolwork, care for yourself, complete household chores, move around, or take part in activities. Occupational therapists use occupation and meaningful activities to help people of all ages prevent, lessen, or adapt to disabilities. Today’s occupational therapists work in clinical practice, community outreach, education, and research private practice among other areas.
Occupational therapy is all about learning how to adjust. Whether you’re at school, work, or home, OT can help you with anything you need to do. And if using tools (sometimes called assistive devices) would help, we’ll teach you how to use those too.
With the help of an occupational therapist, you can learn new techniques that will enable you to complete daily tasks, take care of yourself and your home, and participate in sports or other activities.
It can help you do specific things like:
Those who want to become occupational therapists (OTs) must obtain specialized graduate training. They first receive a degree from an accredited occupational therapy program and then pass a national exam in order to be licensed and certified to practice.
Some OTs specialize in certain types of treatment, such as hand therapy, working with low vision patients, children or older adults. Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) help with some parts of your treatment plan under the supervision of an Occupational Therapist. They don’t assess you or create your therapy plan independently. An OTA typically needs an associate’s degree while an OT has a master’s degree.
Other health professionals that an occupational therapist (OT) or occupational therapy assistant (OTA) typically work with include doctors, physical therapists, and psychologists.
The therapists work with patients of all ages, from premature babies to elderly adults. In general, the therapist assess how you perform any kind of activity or task. They develop a plan to improve your performance and make it less painful if needed.
The first time you meet with an OT, they will assess your needs. This usually happens by coming to your home or workplace so that they can see what you do and what changes need to be made. If they are working with a child, sometimes they will go to their school instead. They might tell you to move furniture around or get something like a cane or grabber to assist you. They can also show you how complete daily tasks more easily.
After that, they’ll collaborate with you to establish a therapy plan and set goals specifically for your disability or limitations. Your OT can teach you how to better handle movements, improve motor skills or hand-eye coordination, or do tasks differently.
Just about anyone who struggles to do any kind of task may need it. If you have one of these health problems, ask your doctor if OT could help you:
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