Our days go by with daily occupations. These occupations represent who we really are in life. Different occupations performed daily may include different roles like being a husband, wife, parent, child, football player, tennis player, an actor, musician, doctor, firefighter, etc. Our occupations start from the day we are born till the day we pass away. In general, we don’t pay much attention to these daily occupations that we perform randomly. But, what if we can’t perform these daily occupations for a reason? Even though it is common to note, these daily occupations could become very important to us all of a sudden.
Have you been diagnosed with a chronic condition recently? Do you have a family member suffering from a condition which makes their daily life activities impossible? Do you have a child diagnosed with autism who is having trouble succeeding in school? Do you have a parent who is aging every day even more and you are worried to leave them alone at home? Have you or a loved one had an accident which made it difficult for you or for them to perform simple daily life activities? Well, these are all problems that occupational therapy tries to address.
Unlike other forms of therapy, occupational therapy is a lot more hands-on, and the therapist is actively involved in the day-to-day activities of their patient. Usually, regular therapy sessions involve the client paying the therapist a visit at a specified time, but occupational therapy incorporates the therapist into the patient’s life. It might seem a little intrusive, but there are various reasons why an individual may need occupational therapy instead of a typical therapy.
With aging comes a lot of changes in the body and most of them are not pleasant. For example, a senior may have trouble climbing the stairs due to weakness or may not be able to prepare a meal by themselves. These problems may be exacerbated if the individual suffers from an additional problem such as a stroke which would make them unable to perform even the basic activities like going to the toilet or dressing on their own.
Instead of moving the elderly to a senior care facility, occupational therapy may be used to rehabilitate the person to be able to perform the most basic activities. While regular therapy is only concerned with physical recovery, occupational therapy ensures that any fixtures necessary at home are installed to help make the activities more comfortable.
Unlike physical problems that can be addressed directly, mental disabilities are more psychological and require a different approach. There are various forms of mental disabilities that may require the services of an occupational therapist such as schizophrenia which demands constant attention. The affected individual may be unable to adhere to the medication provided. Hence occupational therapy is used to train them to adhere to the prescribed dosage. Other forms of mental disabilities that may require occupational therapy include ADHD, depression and phobias such as agoraphobia.
Occupational therapy is more suitable in addressing these problems because it goes deeper than just addressing the symptoms while identifying the triggers that exaggerate the problem.
Children with learning disabilities require specialized attention – an expert who understands the issue and knows how to work around the problem. Some of these learning disabilities like dyslexia and ADHD may make the child lag behind in class. This could affect their professional life later.
A learning disability is not a permanent disability. Many children who had such problems have succeeded in their fields simply because someone took the time to help them. An occupational therapist is just what you need in such a situation because, not only are they trained to handle such cases, but they also will be actively involved in the child’s learning process. This ensures that the progress is maintained throughout the individual’s life.
Children with autism can benefit from occupational therapy too.
Recovery from an injury
In order to look physically fit, the body needs physical attention to help repair the damaged body tissues. Occupational therapy addresses these needs while providing the relevant psychological, nutritional and social support required by the recovering individual. Research has shown that recovery from an injury requires a lot more time than just physical attention, something which occupational therapy provides.
Occupational therapy is used for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Schizophrenia – a mental disorder affecting both men and women and characterized by symptoms such as seeing hallucinations or hearing hallucinations.
- Dyspraxia – a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in planning and performing smooth coordinated movements.
- Multiple sclerosis – a disorder of the central nervous system which affects the brain and the spinal cord making it impossible to maintain proper movements and balance.
- Depression – a mental disorder characterized by a feeling of extreme sadness.
- Arthritis – a medical condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the joints and bones all over the body. In severe cases of arthritis, deformation of the joints occur.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome – a syndrome characterized by chronic fatigue despite having enough sleep and rest.
- Chronic pain – occurs due to various conditions like a herniated disc, spondylosis, etc.
Occupational therapy is used for the treatment of the following conditions among children:
- Spina bifida – a birth defect characterized by abnormal development of the spine and the nervous system.
- Learning disabilities – a mental disorder characterized by an impaired way of communicating and understanding information.
- Down’s syndrome – an autosomal genetic condition that affects the normal development of the child characterized by a lower IQ as well as characteristic facial expression. Children with Down syndrome have mild to moderate learning difficulties.
- Cerebral palsy – a set of neurological disorders which impacts the nervous system and the spine thus affecting the co-ordination and movement among children.
- Dyspraxia - a development disorder characterized by difficulties in planning and performing smooth coordinated movements.
- Autism – a genetic condition which influences the different aspects of a child's speech, learning, etc.