What is an occupational therapy?
An occupational therapist is a health professional whose goal is to enable people to participate in activities they want to, need to or are expected to do in daily life. This may be achieved by teaching a person skills, or modifying the activity or the environment to better support the person’s ability to engage and participate in that activity.
How can an occupational therapist help?
An occupational therapist can:
- Help children to achieve their developmental milestones such as motor skills, eye hand coordination, cognitive and perceptual skill development
- Help people to develop everyday life skills such as toileting, dressing, and bathing
- Help people to develop their social skills and explore their recreational activities
- Help people to improve their performance in work/employment related tasks
- Help people to improve their performance in household productivity tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
- Investigate a person’s behaviour and provide strategies to reduce behaviours of concern
- Prescribe assistive equipment for self-care tasks such as equipment for bathing, and lifting.
- Prescribe specialised seating, and wheelchairs.
- Assess and modify clients’ home and community environments to improve their safety and independence
How do occupational therapists do this?
- Occupational therapists assess all the different components of a person’s particular functioning in a task. This may include specific specialised assessment of motor skills, sensory processing, coordination, cognitive, and perceptual abilities.
- Depending on the area or activity performance concern they may need to complete skilled observations of the person across different settings such as at home, respite, day program, work, school, shopping centres etc.
- Following assessment an occupational therapist will educate the family, carers and significant others on some strategies to support the child’s development