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Occupational therapy is a type of healthcare where the therapist will focus on improving the health and wellbeing of their patients by helping them to participate in everyday activities. This ranges from self-care activities such as showering, dressing, and preparing and eating food, though to the more practical activities in life, such as work, community activities, finding and engaging in hobbies, and socialising.
An occupational therapist’s specialty is in being able to identify what is important to the patient – their goals and aspirations – and then determine the best way that the patient can achieve these things. This might involve adjusting the environment that the person with the disability is in to make the activity more accessible, or it might involve finding ways to adjust the activity itself so that it’s within the skillset of the individual.
In short, an occupational therapist’s role can be summarised in three ways:
1) They help patients build knowledge and skills
2) They help find new ways to do activities so that the person with the disability can continue doing them, and
3) They change the environment to suit the needs of the person with the disability
In this way they an invaluable resource to a person living with a disability, whether it’s for a short term consultation, or if they need to help the person manage and live with long-term (chronic) health conditions.
Occupational therapy and learning
It’s important to remember that every child experiencing learning difficulties will have very different needs, based on the specific nature of their learning difficulty, as well as their general personality and preferred working conditions. There’s no hard-and-fast rules about the solutions that an occupational therapist will develop, and that’s precisely why they’re so invaluable for helping children with learning disabilities. Most learning environments are designed to be “one size fits all”, which can be frustrating or even distressing to a child. The occupational therapist’s role is to tailor the environment, leading to better learning outcomes, and a happier and more fulfilling learning experience for the child.
Occupational therapy is just one of the many therapy options that Ability Options can help you find. Click here to learn more.
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