What is Occupational Therapy and who needs it?
What Does an OT Do?
They work with people of all ages, from premature babies to young children, adults in midlife, and seniors.
In short, the therapist looks at how you do any kind of activity or task. Then they come up with a plan to improve the way you do it to make it easier or less painful.
At your first appointment, the OT will assess your needs. They may come to your home or workplace to see what you do and what changes you need to make. If they’re working with your child, they can go to their school. They might tell you to move furniture or get an assistive device like a cane or grabber. They can show you how to do daily chores better.
Next, they’ll work with you to come up with a therapy plan and set goals designed for your needs, disability, or limits. Your OT can train you to adapt your movements, improve your motor skills or hand-eye coordination, or do tasks in new ways.
Your OT may:
- Prescribe and train you to use assistive devices like raised toilet seats or wheelchairs
- Teach you new ways to button a shirt, tie your shoes, get in and out of the shower, or work on your computer
- Help older adults prevent falls in their home or in public areas
- Treat adults who’ve had a stroke to improve balance, change their home to prevent injuries, build muscle strength, or adapt to their memory or speech problems
- Organize your medications or household tools
- Address behavior problems in kids who act out or hit others
- Build hand-eye coordination so you can hit a tennis ball
- Work on motor skills so you can grasp a pencil
Who Needs Occupational Therapy?
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:
- Arthritis and chronic pain
- Brain injury
- Joint replacement
- Spinal cord injury
- Low vision
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Poor balance
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Mental health or behavior issues