Occupational Therapy & Therapists Explained

Some people require special attention, care, and unique healthcare needs to perform their day-to-day activities. People having a specific kind of disability, injuries, or problems with body movements need an Occupational Therapist.

Occupational Therapists help people learn the skills to do their routine activities with ease and without any help from others. Some disorders can even interfere with the standard basic abilities like eating, bathing, and dressing.

With the help of tools and exercise, the OT can train people with the essential activities, and they can even perform their job at school and employment.

Some of the work areas where OT can help:

  • Getting dressed
  • Taking showers
  • Cooking for self
  • Leisure activities like sports and gardening
  • Office work
  • Better performance at school
  • Laundry work

Role of OT in case of kids

Kids with special care may need an occupational therapist who can guide them with the various skills to live everyday life.

  • OT helps kids develop motor skills to play with different toys.
  • They help them with handwriting and developing computer skills.
  • They train them with better hand-eye coordination.
  • Basic necessary skills like bathing, eating and brushing their teeth.
  • They help them operate equipment like a wheelchair, dressing devices, splints, and many more.

Role and responsibility of the occupational therapist

The primary function of OT is to suffice the patient’s needs. Their work starts by analyzing the patient’s problem, which depends upon the degree of disability, age, and level of care they need.

The next step involves providing a comprehensive treatment program that helps the patient physically, emotionally, and financially.

The essential role and responsibilities are:

  • To treat the patient’s condition and help them meet the specific goal.
  • They help them adapt according to the problem and teach them ways to accomplish the task.
  • The OT trains patients and trains the caregivers to deal with the patient and how they can assist them in day-to-day life to make them more independent.
  • They assist them in how to use the toilet seats and wheelchairs.
  • Help the patient learn how to button a shirt, work on the computer, and wear the shoes.
  • They help the patient with how they can organize their stuff.
  • In the case of older people, they help them make the balance so that the patient can prevent falls.
  • They help manage the behavior problem in people, especially kids, to control anger and frustration.

Where do occupational therapists work?

The occupational therapist works in the different facilities based on their expertise and areas of interest. Some of the common facilities are:

  • Institutes – Rehabilitation centers, mental health centers, schools, colleges, recreational centers, hospitals, some care facilities, and nursing homes.
  • Government Institutes – They work in some government institutes dealing in disability management, rehabilitation program development, health promotion, and health planning.
  • Businesses – Corporations, insurance companies, and rehabilitation companies.
  • Communities – Worker’s compensation group, home care, the mental health community, clinics, and private practices.

Who needs the occupational therapist?

The Occupational therapist deals with multiple problems. People with these problems can reach out to OT:

  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Learning problems
  • Severe hand injuries
  • Post-surgical conditions
  • Broken bones
  • Developmental delays
  • Brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Low vision
  • Poor balance
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

What steps does the OT take for a treatment?

Regular health assessment

The patient requires a health assessment for a short duration. It helps the OT to know whether the line of treatment is showing positive results or not. If they do not impact the patient’s life, then the OT can alternate the treatment plan.

The OT will use interview techniques, observation, consultation with close relatives, and standardized procedures for the regular assessment.


OT needs to craft the treatment plan rigorously and according to the patient’s condition. They have to define the long-term and short-term goals from the patient’s overall well-being.

Special techniques

Every patient may have a different need. The OT has to scrutinize the patient’s environment and social life. They have to teach them the special techniques according to their social needs.

Proper coordination

OT has to work for the betterment of the patient. They are expected to have a cooperative mindset with the people around them.

Education and skills

The OT must possess a four-year degree in the related field and a master’s degree from an accredited university. They can also go for the certification course in the various branches like – mental health, driving and community mobility, rehabilitation, pediatrics, and many more.

Though, the OT needs the pool of skills to master their profession. But some of the most common skills are:

  • Communication skills – Communication skills are not about expressing self. Instead, the OT should listen to the patient’s problem. They should have outstanding communication skills to understand and explain patients’ needs.
  • Patience – It is a long-term treatment that requires flexibility and patience. The OT will face the high and low, which they need to handle with utmost patience and calmness.

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