What Is Occupational Therapy? A Complete Guide
We all know the common meaning of the word ‘occupation’ – job or career path. However, the term ‘occupations’ has a very different meaning in the context of occupational therapy. It refers to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families and in society to occupy time and bring meaning to life. Things that people need to, want to and are expected to do in day-to-day lives are collectively termed ‘occupations’.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that focuses on helping people do all things they want and need to do in their daily lives, such as work, school, play, hobbies, household tasks, social interactions etc.
Some people might be facing real troubles in doing the simplest of daily tasks like dressing themselves, eating, playing sports, doing dishes etc. Occupational therapy helps them to live the best life at home, at work – and everywhere else, increasing their independence and wellbeing.
Sometimes we see physicians refer a person to an occupational therapist if they have a disability or have been recovering from a medical condition, such as stroke, or underwent surgery. By equipping people to do their daily activities, occupational therapy aims to improve their quality of life.
What is Paediatric Occupational Therapy?
Paediatric occupational therapy, as the word implies, works to improve the bodily functions and daily skills of children and teens with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. Occupational therapy interventions assist children in developing fine motor skills, cognition, gross motor skills etc., to carry out their daily tasks.
Pediatric occupational therapists at Rehabilitation Centre in Dubai are qualified experts who analyse and design activities that help children of all ages and needs. They provide treatment for sensory and motor skills, self-help, play, social skills, school readiness, fine motor skills, and cognitive development.
By developing these skills and abilities, they can easily participate in all aspects of normal life by taking care of themselves, acting appropriately at school or in social situations, and more.
Who benefits from Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapists often work with adults and children of all ages who have a wide range of conditions, such as mental health issues or physical or learning disabilities. Pediatric occupational therapy majorly works with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Developmental Delays etc. Children recovering from a brain injury or stroke may also need the help of occupational therapists to equip them for daily life activities.
Sometimes pediatric occupational therapists would have to work with children from the time they are born till they become adults, and sometimes the problems get rectified way before.
Occupational Therapy majorly equips children to acquire all essential self-care skills required for daily living:
- Self-dressing and grooming
- Hygiene and toileting
- Helping with chores
- Academic skills
- Socialising skills
All skills are instilled in children by developing and sharpening their fine motor and gross motor skills. Once these skills get attained, they are good to go!
What does an occupational therapist do?
As mentioned before, an occupational therapist helps people overcome their challenges in completing everyday tasks or activities. What an occupational therapist does at a clinic or rehabilitation centre is as follows:
To begin the occupational therapy process, the therapist conducts a few initial and repeated assessments focusing on individuals and their environmental abilities and problems related to activities in daily life. Assessment includes standardised procedures, interviews, and observations while performing various tasks in a variety of settings, reviewing their medical history, and consulting with people in their lives.
With the assessment results in hand, a treatment plan gets formulated that includes specific tasks and short and long-term goals. The treatment plan must be practical, realistic and individualistic, catering to the development stage, habits, roles, lifestyle preferences and the environment. The treatment plan must aid the individual to achieve the breakthroughs needed to elevate their everyday life.
Once the plan is perfectly planned, the next step is timely interventions from the part of occupational therapists that are person-oriented and environmental. Interventions are must to facilitate the performance of everyday tasks and adaptation to their living conditions. Teaching new techniques and methods that give independence in personal care is a kind of intervention. Guiding a child with autism in play activities is an expert intervention toward goodness.
Occupational therapists know the importance of teamwork. Thus, they support a holistic approach with other professionals, families, caregivers and volunteers. Parents and caregivers are given special awareness classes and coaching about how to care for children at home.
What are the signs that say a child requires pediatric occupational therapy?
Being a parent, you might be wondering how to identify if your child requires occupational therapy. Here are some of the signs you can look at. If you notice these signs, it is better to consult an occupational therapist for a detailed assessment.
- If your child avoids certain textures or surfaces, it can denote that they may have a sensory processing disorder.
- If your child does not use both hands together when playing or pretending to cook, it may denote that they might need assistance developing their fine motor skills.
- If your child has difficulty dressing themselves or tying their shoelaces, it needs to be specially taken care of.
- If your child finds a hard time calming themselves and if seen out of control. They might need OT assistance in learning the self-calming methods like deep breathing or gazing up at a lighted ceiling fan.
- If your child avoids eye contact, take it as a sign to consult an expert.
If you tend to notice any of the signs mentioned before, it’s better that you make an appointment at the best Occupational Therapy Dubai. Expert therapists will evaluate your child through a series of tests that start the treatment if they have motor skills delays, sensory processing disorders, coordination issues etc.