Mind & Body
Back to the Basics of You, How Exceptional Occupational Therapy can be Unexpected.
4/1/2019 1:00:00 PM

Occupational Therapy


April is National Occupational Therapy Month, which provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on the strides occupational therapy makes in returning independence and quality of life to patients each and every day. 


The word independence may imply that occupational therapy is mainly for adults but that’s not the case. Childhood is geared towards learning how to be independent and developing the skills that will be necessary in adulthood. Occupational therapy in children can address a multitude of issues such as handwriting, sensory processing, fine motor skills, and various activities of daily living. An occupational therapist evaluates and then designs challenges that build on a child’s unique strengths to facilitate progression through developmental skills.


Playing outside with your children, painting a photo, baking your favorite dish and typing on a keyboard are all examples of the meaningful activities that can fill your days. None of those tasks sound monumental but the truth is that the small activities that make up your day are a huge part of who you are as a person. 


"Those without inhibitions tend take those every day activities for granted when, in reality, they are essential to the big picture of a person’s overall health,” says Sonya Brooks, owner of Hope Therapy Center in Lake Charles. "It’s not just physical. Anytime our normal routine is interrupted we are thrown off balance, but for some patients the lack of independence can impact psychological health as well.” 


If you have a medical condition, your health status changes or if you are recovering from an accident or injury, your valued occupations may become more difficult. Occupational therapy focuses on supporting independence and safety, improving quality of life, enhancing function and supporting leisure activities. It’s all about allowing you, the patient, to live life to the fullest. While recovering, you could meet with an occupational therapist to address the underlying deficits hindering you. 


When people think of therapy, they often have images of cold, sterile environments. While some types of therapy can include medical technologies and the goal is certainly to improve your health, the environment can really be the most unexpected – and fun – place. 


Occupational therapists use a multi-sensory approach to both adult and pediatric patients. Employing methods like touch with writing letters in sand to using stories to relate sound to the way a word is written make occupational therapy for children an engaging experience. Similarly, stacking blocks and piecing together puzzles can help children perceive differences between objects in their environment. For adults, a simple activity like baking cookies can help with motor skills such as reaching, grabbing and pushing. 


"Occupational therapists are problem solvers who marry clinical skills with creativity to get the best results for a patient,” says Brooks. "They have a variety of skills and equipment at their disposal. Everything from a pencil and paper to a state-of-the-art aquatic therapy pool. Whatever it takes.” 


Because every patient differs in what makes up a typical day, occupational therapy treatment plans are uniquely tailored. It’s also for that reason that occupational therapy tends to be more patient-led than other forms of therapy. You are in charge of what’s important to you, of deciding which activities will improve your quality of life and get you back to feeling and moving like yourself. Occupational therapists focus on lending their skills and expertise on your journey to independence. 


For more information about occupational therapy, contact Hope Therapy Center at 337-478-5880.

Posted by: Taylor Trahan Henry | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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