occupational therapy

The Role Of Occupational Therapists

occupational therapy

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Occupational therapists have different roles, and often, their responsibilities will depend on the client’s needs. During your first appointment, the therapist will assess your condition and needs before they determine the role they are to take. 

Some of the roles of occupational therapists include;

Addressing Behavioral Issues In Children.

Occupational therapists also double as behavioural therapists. They help identify self-destructive or unhealthy behaviours in children, teenagers, and even adults. 

Occupational therapy sees some behaviours as learned, and one can unlearn unhealthy behaviours. For example, depression, anxiety, anger issues, and panic disorders may cause patients to change their behaviour. The therapist will look at the root cause of the behaviour change and help the patient unlearn these behaviours. 

Recommend Assistive Devices 

In a bid to help their patients cope in their environment, occupational therapists sometimes recommend assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, raised toilet seats, and communication gadgets to help their patients adjust better to their new condition or environment. 

Help Patients Develop And Improve Important Skills

One of the key roles of occupational therapy is to help people learn and relearn important skills to be independent. 

For example, occupational therapists help patients develop motor skills.

It is normal to assume that motor movements are natural and expected, such as grasping, writing, and holding items. However, some children do not develop motor skills, and this affects their independence. 

People who suffered a stroke, physical injuries, and illnesses that affected their nerves also struggle to regain their motor skills. The occupational therapists help adults relearn how to use their motor skills. 

Teach Patients Learn New Ways To Achieve Their Goals.

Unfortunately, sometimes injuries and illnesses may rob patients of their ability to function as they normally would. Occupational therapists try to find ways to help patients learn different ways of doing things. 

For example, suppose a serious injury affects a patient’s ability to use his right hand. The therapist will help the patient build strength in his left hand to keep functioning independently. The occupational therapist may need to collaborate with a physiotherapist to help the patient achieve his goal.  

Develop A Treatment Plan

Occupational therapy is often a long-term treatment that can last weeks, months, or even years. Once the occupational therapist meets the patient, he will develop a treatment plan to help the patient overcome the situation that is causing him distress. Over time, the treatment plan may change, depending on how the patient responds. 

Assess The Patient’s Environment

Since the environment is critical for the patient’s recovery, occupational therapists will take the time to visit areas where the patient spends most of the time. It could be his home, workplace, or school.

For example, some children in the spectrum develop behavioural patterns triggered by the lights or colours of the walls. The therapist will recommend the necessary changes to help the patient enjoy their environment. 

Occupational therapists have unique roles that are usually dependent on their clients’ needs. Some patients need their therapists to do more than help them get better. In some cases, the therapists become a source of support the patient needs to help them gain confidence and recover from their physical, emotional, and psychological challenges.