Occupational Therapists work with anyone from birth to death with any disease, disability, diagnosis or injury that impacts their daily life. This intervention allows people to regain, develop, and build skills that are essential for independent functioning, health, and well-being. The goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to perform the activities that are important to them. Occupational therapy can prevent injury or the worsening of existing conditions or disabilities and thereby promote independence. This can maximize the quality of life for individuals, families, and caregivers. Occupational therapists are employed in schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health care, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, psychiatric facilities, and community health programs.
In addition to dealing with an individual's physical well-being, occupational therapists address psychological, social, and environmental factors that may impede independence in all aspects of life.
Occupational therapists work with people with many different injuries/diseases/diagnosis including:
Ø Spinal Cord injuries
Ø Traumatic brain injury (car accidents, falls…)
Ø Orthopedic (trauma, hip/knee replacements, back injuries, fractured arms/legs)
Ø Stroke and other neurological conditions
Ø Mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder…)
Ø Down's Syndrome
Ø Cerebral Palsy
Ø Developmental Delays
Areas addressed by Occupational therapists include but are not limited to:
Ø Fine motor coordination (tying shoes, handwriting, opening containers…)
Ø Self-care (bathing, dressing, toileting, eating)
Ø Functional Mobility (getting in and out of bed/chair)
Ø Cognition (safety awareness, following directions, attention)
Ø Sensory processing (visual, auditory, tactile…)
Ø Arm strengthening exercises
Ø Adaptive technology (computers)
Ø Activity Tolerance/Increased endurance
In a public school setting, occupational therapy is considered a related service. Students that recieve occupational therapy typically have an IEP and qualify for OT if they have a disabling condition that impacts their ability to access their education.