Commonly referred to as 'OT', occupational therapy is a means of enhancing one's personal growth by undertaking a variety of different tasks. OT exercises are performed with the purpose of developing a sense of independence, and also as a means of avoiding physical disabilities that ultimately result in a sort of mental disability. This is a deeply psychological and complex field of study, and is usually applied to young children and people affected by some physical disability.
Occupational therapists commonly work with families, individuals, communities, and groups to help their development in a social sense. The official definition by the American Occupational Therapy Association executive board is as follows:
The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play activities to increases development and prevent disability. It may include adaptation of task or environment to achieve maximum independence and enhance the quality of life.
OT for Kids
In case of children who are taking a long time to develop their motor skills, the therapist analyzes the situation and suggests the suitable steps to be taken. It helps these children to carry out their basic routine tasks. They devise special exercises for them that enable them to perform their daily activities comfortably.
The therapy is unique for every individual, as each child has his/her own special requirements and learning speed. It is impossible to lay down some standards that could be applicable to everyone. In a way, the therapists teach their patients how to do simple things in different ways. It goes without saying that he or she has to be highly sensitive and responsive to the needs of their patients. Children who have trouble doing certain things, have often found these exercises highly fruitful.
OT for Adults
The primary reason for adults to undergo OT is aging. As one grows older, nerves and sensory system of the body starts performing erratically. As a result, elderly people find it hard to carry out their basic everyday tasks. They regularly visit occupational therapists with their special requirements and complaints, and the therapists devise some techniques for them.
Aging is a natural and uncontrollable process that cannot be reversed under any circumstances. It affects the body as well as the mind. There are only a handful of cases where OT has actually worked for the aged. In most cases, these exercises are futile attempts in reversing the irreversible.
Adults, who have suffered from some major accident or physical trauma, are also in need of this therapy. These people are more likely to respond positively, and over time, the results become more and more apparent. There are a number of exercises for stroke patients, heart patients, accident victims, and traumatized patients, that have been known to work magnificently.
It has to be mentioned again that each individual who visits therapists has his/her own special requirements which can only be ascertained once the therapist talks to him/her and his/her family. A certain exercise that has worked effectively for one individual, may be completely useless for another person with the same problem. In some cases, it could even have a detrimental effect on that particular person. The therapist has to do a lot of spadework and come up with a highly personalized and individualistic regime for each and every person.
At the end of the day, the effectiveness of OT is well-known. Occupational therapists should not be looked down upon and scorned as mere 'quacks'. Visiting a therapist is definitely not a bad thing and should not be viewed in a negative manner under any circumstances.
Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a mental health expert.