Occupational therapists (OTs) help people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They work with patients who have conditions that are mentally,physically,developmentally, or emotionally disabling. They help these individuals to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills and to compensate for permanent loss of function. Typically, Occupational therapists work with patients to improve their motor skills, including holding,grasping, and using their hands for detailed movements.
Occupational therapy is helpful to those with permanent disabilities caused due to:
• Spinal cord injuries
• Cerebral palsy
• Muscular dystrophy
• After stroke
• Hip fracture
• Arthritis etc.
OTs instruct the patients how to use the adaptive equipment, including wheel chairs,splints, and aids for eating and dressing. OTs may also work with individuals who are dealing with alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, eating disorders, or stress related disorders.
Occupational therapists areas of expertise include the following:
• Patients education and training in activities of daily living
• Developmental and fabrication of splints
• Training,recommendation, and selection of adaptive equipment (such as a long arm shoe horn)
• Therapeutic activities for patient’s functional, cognitive, or perceptual abilities
• Consultation in adaption of the environment to a physically challenged patient.
Common problems treated by an occupational therapist:
• Decreased range of motion – limits in moving the head, neck, body, or limbs
• Decreased strength – difficulty performing age appropriate weight bearing
movements. (e.g., bear walk, wheelbarrow walk) and holding body positions
against gravity )
• Fine motor delays – difficulty with handwriting and cutting skills, enable to grasp
or to pick etc.
• Self-care delays – difficulty performing dressing, grooming, tooth brushing, and
• Bilateral coordination delays – difficulty using both hands together to perform a
• Visual perceptual disorders – difficulty organizing visual information from the
environment in order to perform a task.
• Sensory processing disorders – difficulty responding appropriately to different
sensory experiences (i.e., touch, taste, sound, and movement) which interferes
with the ability to perform daily activities.