How Does Occupational Therapy Help People?
Occupational therapy is unique because of the holistic approach in helping patients overcome the physical, mental and emotional conditions that keep them from performing their daily activities.
Occupational therapy is unique from other professions in the following ways.
- Helps patients function in multiple environments.
- Works with people of different ages.
- Addresses physical, cognitive, and psychological issues.
- Each patient receives customized interventions.
- The therapy focuses on day-to-day activities.
- Occupation therapists collaborate with other professionals.
- Therapy sometimes requires a change of environment.
- Occupational therapists require a range of skills.
Helps Patients Function In Multiple Environments
Occupational therapists are not only concerned with the health and well-being of patients, but they also look at how they cope in different environments. For example, an occupational therapist working with children with ADHD will look at how the child behaves in school, at home, or even in playgrounds.
Works With People Of Different Ages
Occupational therapy is a service needed by people of all ages. Children with various conditions, including autism, ADHD, and physical disability, need occupational therapists to help them live as comfortably as possible in their environment.
For example, a therapist will help a child with delayed speech learn to communicate with teachers and the family using signals. The therapist will also involve the parents and teachers to help them understand the child better.
In this case, as the therapist attempts to help the child learn how to speak, he has introduced a temporary fix where the child can still communicate and be understood.
Addresses Physical, Cognitive, and Psychological Issues
Occupational therapists often take a holistic approach when working with the patient. They look at the physical, psychological, and cognitive factors affecting the patient’s ability to perform daily functions.
For example, people who had an accident, a stroke, or an illness that affected that mobility also suffer from emotional and psychological distress. They struggle to cope with their new status, which sometimes affects their ability to adjust and function independently.
Occupational therapists attempt to heal the body and mind. The therapists help patients see the possibilities and that a positive attitude is critical for their recovery and adjustment.
Each Patient Receives Customized Interventions
Unlike conventional medicine, where patients with similar conditions follow the same treatment plan, occupational therapy customizes therapies depending on the patient’s condition and environment.
For example, an occupational therapist may be working with two clients who suffered a stroke, but the therapy will vary since the impact and their reactions differ.
The Therapy Focuses On Day-to-day Activities
Occupational therapy focuses on day-to-day activities, such as breathing, play, exercises, work, going to the bathroom, taking a bath, and many more. The therapist will look at the ease with which the patient can perform these duties.
Although the therapist has an ultimate goal, the daily wins matter more because the patient is becoming more independent.
Occupational Therapists Collaborate With Other Professionals
Occupational therapy sometimes requires collaboration with other medical professionals, such as doctors and physical therapists. Each professional has a critical role to play in the well-being of the patient. Sometimes, their solutions are interdependent, so each has to help the other professional achieve their goal.
Therapy Sometimes Requires A Change Of Environment
When an occupational therapist realizes that the environment is not conducive for the patient, some may opt for an alternative venue. For example, some children in the autism spectrum struggle to cope in new environments.
Some people may not be responsive if therapy is done at the therapist’s office. In this case, the occupational therapist may choose home or school therapy, whichever works best for the child.
Occupational Therapists Require A Range Of Skills
Some of the skills that occupational therapists need include empathy, decision making, communication, patience, and flexibility. Some of these skills are not taught, so sometimes it looks like occupational therapy is a calling first, before a profession. However, some therapists pick these skills as they work with patients.
These are some of the unique features of occupational therapy. Since patients have different needs, occupational therapists in Singapore have to have the required expertise, experience, and skill to determine the features to use for each client.