What is Occupational Therapy Really

What Does an OT do

What is occupational therapy or OT exactly?? Occupational therapy is divided into three main career paths. Anyone entering the field of occupational therapy, can choose to be an occupational therapist, an occupational therapist assistant or an occupational therapist aide.  Each of these careers requires different levels of training and education and has different duties and responsibilities.  In this article  we will focus on the role of the occupational therapist in OT.

An occupational therapist is responsible for enhancing or allowing a client to regain their ability to live independently. This is done by teaching them the physical and cognitive skills that will allow them to perform actions and activities that encompass work, play and leisure on an independent level so that they can enjoy a high and normal quality of life. Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings. They may wok in hospitals or clinics and some work in school systems. But wherever there is a need to help sick or injured people recover and regain their ability to take care of themselves, then there is a need for an occupational therapist. You can find out more in depth information on what is occupational therapy at the website at this link.

An OT will work with any patient who has suffered a reduction in functioning of any part of the body whether it is because of illness, age or injury. As such Occupational therapists often deal with victims of a stroke.  Here are some of the things that an OT would do in their care and treatment of stroke victim.

An occupational therapist may work with someone who has suffered a stroke to teach them how to regain the use of their right hand so that they may go about the daily activities of eating, brushing their teeth, driving, and cooking and cleaning as well as grooming or taking care of their personal appearance. The occupational therapist will assess the extent of the damage to their right hand as well as any cognitive disabilities or impairments that may have resulted from the stroke and then introduce exercises and activities that will help the person both regain cognitive function and physical function of their right hand or any other extremity that was damaged by the stroke.

Occupational therapists also find themselves working extensively in military hospitals. As soldiers receive war wounds, it is important that there are occupational therapists to teach them how to cope with sometimes severe injuries suffered on the battlefield, and how to resume their normal lives even with a permanent injury or disability. This does not only limit itself to physical injuries, as occupational therapists often deal with symptoms and causes of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is mental in nature. As such, the occupational therapist will teach the client how to deal with perception of stressful situations to limit and reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

An OT  will deal with the treatment of common battle injuries such as loss of an arm or leg and teach the soldier how to use any critical equipment such as crutches or prosthetics as well as the skills they need to cope. Many times this involves learning how to do simple activities such as writing, or eating with their non-dominant hand, especially in the case of an injury to their dominant hand.

It is advisable that anyone who is interested in pursuing any of the career paths in Occupational Therapy should study areas related to the field such as kinesiology, biology, or sports medicine. Showing that you have a well-rounded understanding of how the human body works and moves will make you more marketable to prospective employers as well as increasing the occupational therapist salary that your earn. Occupational therapists also need to take the opportunity to learn about how the brain functions. In particular, how the brain deals with trauma, processes information, and learns and remembers new skills.