At first glance, one would think that occupational therapy is therapy involving the workplace, possibly career counseling. That is not the case. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines occupational therapy as “therapy based on engagement in meaningful activities of daily life (such as self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction) especially to enable or encourage participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning.” In short, occupational therapy is therapy designed to help patients engage with the world around them despite limitations due to physical or mental reasons.
Who Benefits From Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy can help many groups of people, including children with disabilities, people recovering from injury, and older adults whose mobility and mental ability is starting to decrease. During therapy, different “occupations” (activities such as work, school, self-care, play, and leisure) are used to increase a patient’s ability to fully interact with the world around them. The goal of occupational therapy is to help patients live a “full” life regardless of whatever injury, illness or disability stands in their way.
History of Occupational Therapy
The beginnings of occupational therapy stand in the late 1800’s. Arts and crafts specialists were hired to work in hospitals to engage patients with mental and physical illnesses. They found that patients that engaged in those tasks were healthier than those who did not. In 1917 a group of doctors formed the American Occupational Therapy Association, primarily focusing on helping injured soldiers from World War I re-enter normal life. Since then it has grown to be what it is today, helping not only injured soldiers, but children, teenagers, and adults alike. Occupational therapists and physical therapists work hand in hand in helping people reconstruct their bodies and minds after injury or through disability.
What do Occupational Therapists do?
Occupational Therapists work in hospitals and at home to help patients reconnect with the world. In hospitals, they help with everyday activities such as bathing, teeth brushing and dressing. In the home, an occupational therapist would work with activities strengthening hand eye coordination, increasing mobility, etc. They will also assess the home for any hazards that the patient may experience and minimize those hazards. They may take patients to grocery stores or malls to help patients relearn how to shop and how to cope in stressful situations. Another task an occupational therapist might perform is to help children who were born with physical or mental disabilities learn to interact with the world.
Here at Superior Home Care, we have many occupational therapists on staff. You may qualify for their aid in physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy. Call us today at 801-790-0587 for more information.