April is Occupational Therapy Month, and while the month may be coming to a close, occupational therapists deserve to be celebrated all year round! Occupational therapists help people regain their independence, make life easier, and put joy back into their patients’ lives. While many people have heard of an occupational therapist before, those who have never needed one may be fuzzy on their actual job description. So, before April is over, we thought we would break it down for everyone below.
How does occupational therapy work?
Occupational therapy is a branch of healthcare that promotes health and well-being through the use of “occupations”, or the everyday activities people perform. It is the things that people want, need, and are expected to do so that they can be successful at school, at work, or at home. For example, gripping a pen and being able to write is one example of an occupation.
What do occupational therapists do?
Occupational therapists help people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities adapt to everyday life. They break down the barriers patients are facing due to pain or injuries to make tasks easier to perform. They can assess any movement or duties that are hard for you to perform and come up with a plan. These plans involve learning a new way of doing things, helping you regain old skills, utilizing equipment that makes tasks easier, or adapting to the environment you are in, so it works better for you.
Who can benefit from occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is beneficial to anyone who has difficulty performing a task. Occupational therapy is designed to help with:
- Fine motor tasks
- Cognitive tasks
- Visual and perception skills
- Sensory-processing problems
Many patients, including burn victims and those with birth defects, benefit from occupational therapy. Therefore, if you have a health problem that you think could benefit from these skills, do not be afraid to ask your doctor if an occupational therapist can help.
Where can you find an occupational therapist?
Occupational therapists can work in a variety of places. Due to this, they can work with patients of all ages, including infants and seniors. You can find them in schools helping students with handwriting or computer use to learn better. Often, they help patients who have been admitted after a stroke or a serious car accident. They help them recover and manage any symptoms associated with their condition. They also work at senior centers to help older individuals regain their movement or learn how to operate new equipment, such as a wheelchair or bathroom safety equipment, to perform daily tasks.
If you have an occupational therapist in your life, make sure you thank them for all that they do! They are superheroes who help people get back on their feet to live a happier and more fulfilling life.