In celebration of Occupational Therapy Month, we thought this was the perfect time to reflect on our career and share with you exactly what we do as occupational therapists.  You’ll be thanking one soon!

Two questions we hear all the time are… are you going to help me find a job? And, Occupational Therapy is the same as Physical Therapy, right? Wrong! So here’s the scoop.

There is so much, it’s hard to put in just one sentence! Overall, an occupational therapist (OT) works with clients through the use of ‘purposeful activities’ to help them achieve a fulfilled and satisfied state in life.  We focus on promoting health, preventing injury and improving or restoring the highest level of independence in your daily routines.  

We OT’s call these meaningful daily routines “activities of daily living.”  This is your bathing, dressing, eating, home management, caring for others, meal prep, social participation, and leisure activities.

Occupational therapist know that a vital part of healing is staying involved with the life that you have worked so hard to build. This means, helping you to find ways to engage easier  in the activities that you love. We know that despite your new injury or illness, the roles you have are still the same. You are still a mother, father, teacher, entrepreneur, construction worker, or avid gardener.  We make it our mission to address your individual needs by adapting the environment, strengthening necessary muscle groups, teaching new skills and addressing self care needs.

This a wonderful video from fellow OT that beautifully describes our profession.  

Although the scope of OT is extremely broad, the process remains the same.  There are 4 basic tenets of what we do

1.) OTs seek to understand your situation and what is important to you

We are good listeners!  Every goal we make is to ensure your interest and independence.  We are familiar with your medical record, disability or injury, have assessed your cognition and understand how it affects your daily life.

2.) OTs facilitate healing and wellness starting with the person

Many of us are holistic practitioners.  Health is important and is almost always linked to other things.  OT’s use therapeutic activities that treat you as a person, not just your injury.

3.) OTs determine if the activity needs to be modified

Activity modification is often where an occupational therapist’s creativity shines. Examples include using special equipment such as dressing tools or feeding equipment, assessing your vehicle so you can drive again after an injury or using a wheelchair to help you get from place to place.

4.) OTs assess if the environment needs to be modified

OT’s’ are skilled at looking at the big picture and seeing what can be changed.  This may mean removing throw rugs to prevent falls, adding a tub bench to assist with transfers, or creating a quiet space to ensure improved attention and focus.

We hope this gives you a greater understanding of what OT is and how we can help.  Occupational therapy is a unique profession that combines health, rehab, science, creativity and compassion to maximize the individuals potential and live a fuller life.  Be sure to thank an OT this month!

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