Many people have heard of occupational therapy but aren't quite sure what it is. Read on to learn more about occupational therapy and the ways it can help you!
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic approach that promotes wellness and quality of life for people of all ages through engagement in everyday activities. OT helps individuals with mental, physical, or developmental challenges acquire (or regain) the skills necessary to participate in daily life. Quite simply, occupational therapy enables you to live your life to the fullest, regardless of a limiting health condition.
You may be thinking, occupational therapy sure sounds a lot like physical therapy (PT). That's not totally untrue. PT and OT are both considered to be types of rehabilitative care and may even treat the same conditions and have similar client goals. The primary difference is PT focuses solely on improving the actual impairment and physical aspects of life, including strength, endurance, and range of motion. OT, on the other hand, addresses the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) to develop skills to perform everyday tasks. In other words, a PT can help you walk, but an OT can teach you how to put on your dancing shoes and dance the night away!
Occupational therapy services can include:
Customized treatment programs to improve one's ability to perform daily activities
Comprehensive home and job site evaluations with adaptation recommendations
Performance skills assessments and treatment
Adaptive equipment and technology recommendations and training
Guidance to family members and caregivers
What are Occupations?
Occupations refer to the everyday activities that people do as individuals, in families, and within communities to occupy time and bring meaning and purpose to life. Occupations include things people need, want, and are expected to do. They can also include roles, such as being a student, parent, employee, athlete, or musician. Oftentimes, occupations may be disrupted due to a health condition or injury. Occupational Therapy ensures valued occupations are addressed during the rehabilitation process so that you can continue doing them.
What conditions can OT treat?
Occupational therapy is suitable for people with acute conditions, recovering from an injury, or managing a chronic or ongoing condition. OTs are trained to deal with a wide range of conditions including (but not limited to):
Neurodevelopmental (e.g. autism spectrum disorder, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD)
Cognitive (e.g. intellectual disability, developmental disability, learning disorder)
Neurological (e.g cerebral palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia)
Mental and Behavioral (e.g depression, anxiety disorder, PTSD, substance abuse)
Sensory (e.g visual or hearing impairment, sensory processing/modulation disorders)
Pain (e.g. fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain, chronic fatigue)
Chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, cancer, heart disease)
Who can benefit from OT?
Truthfully, everyone can benefit from occupational therapy! Occupational Therapy is recommended for anyone who is struggling to perform daily tasks and activities or unable to fully participate in desired occupations. An occupational therapist will evaluate your situation and develop individual goals and treatment plan based on your specific needs, circumstances, and input from you and any other involved parties (e.g. family, caregivers, etc.). Here are a few examples of how OT can help clients:
A child with autism who has difficulty with coping with changes in routine can see an OT to improve self-regulation, sensory processing, and communication skills.
A teenager with ADHD who has challenges completing school work, taking tests, and making friends may seek OT services to improve attention, organization, time management, and social skills.
An adult with PTSD and depression can work with an OT to learn positive coping skills, develop healthy habits and routines, and manage symptoms to fully participate in work, leisure, and social activities.
A senior adult who had a stroke can receive OT to address strength, endurance, and range of motion to increase independence in dressing, eating, and grooming and prevent falls in the home.
ktOT accepts insurance including Medi-Cal and Medi-Care. We also help clients obtain reimbursement from other insurance companies. ktOT aims to serve everyone in need of OT, regardless of income and financial challenges!