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Understanding Occupational Therapy 

24 October 2022

Everyone deserves to live an independent and fulfilling life - but sometimes injury, illness or disability make life a little tougher. If this describes the challenges you’re facing, an occupational therapist can help you enjoy your life and participate in the activities you find meaningful. This could include self-care, leisure activities, or employment. 

Put simply, occupational therapy (OT) focuses on long-term health and wellbeing. Unlike a visit to the doctor that starts and ends either side of an appointment, an OT works to adapt your home and habits so you can participate in and enjoy your daily life. 

The term ‘occupational’ may sound formal and job-related, but an OT is a people-first role that’s safe, cost-effective and backed by science. The term ‘occupational’ is an umbrella term that includes a person’s wants and needs and the roles a person performs in their everyday life, for example, child, adult, mother, weekend soccer coach; it certainly isn’t limited to work. 

The truth is injury, illness or disability can knock over the basic building blocks of a fulfilling life. And it’s an OT’s job, and passion, to help you put those blocks back together. 

What is occupational therapy? 

An occupational therapist is a health professional who helps you live your life to the fullest through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.  

Injury, disability and illness can have a significant effect on your routine and quality of life. An OT is part of the healing process, helping you return to a life you love through meaningful activities, which may include: 

· Showering 

· Dressing 

· Meal preparation 

· Sleep 

· Driving/community mobility 

· Financial management 

· Social participation 

· Home management 

How occupational therapy helps children 

A child’s brain develops rapidly, with research showing children often make the greatest gains during their early years. If your child has specific learning difficulties, physical disabilities or is recovering from illness, an OT can help to support learning and motor skills. 

At Care Squared Kids, our OTs work with children, their families, and their teachers, to give them the same fulfilling and enjoyable childhood experience as their peers. For example, an OT for children may assist with: 

1.   Functional Skills: This includes day-to-day skills like eating, dressing, going to the toilet, writing, and interacting with other children. 

2.   Physical Skills: This includes motor skills and motor control, body awareness, hand-to-eye coordination and sensation. 

3.   Environmental Changes: This includes modifying your child’s environment to promote accessibility and independence, for example, schoolyard access 

How occupational therapy supports adult 

Whether through illness, injury or mental health challenge, OTs help adults to do the things they want to do. At Humanity Health Group we focus on goals that allow you to maintain, regain or improve your independence because we understand the crucial need to live life as independently as possible and one that’s both challenging and enjoyable. 

When older Australians are faced with illness or injury, the road to recovery can feel overwhelming. Our NDIS-funded OTs assist with mobility, relationships and community living. These outcomes differ from person to person as your situation is as unique as you. For example, you may want to improve your ability to perform tasks at home, or you may need help modifying your home environment to avoid future injuries. 

OTs also work closely with other health professionals, such as psychologists and physiotherapists, to help Australians living with emotional or psychological challenges. The list of possible benefits goes on, but the most important takeaway is that OTs are suited to every aspect of your life to help you overcome functional barriers and live life on your terms. 

At Humanity Health Group, our OTs also work with adults and seniors, their employers, and their families, to make everyday life easier and safer. For example, an OT for adults may assist with: 

1.   Mental Health Support: This includes liaising with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and doctors to support mental health and wellbeing. 

2.   Workplace Support: This includes injury management and rehabilitation, injury prevention, and work-related training. 

3.   Recovery Support: This includes assisting with a return to work, and life, through the development of skills for everyday living, such as household tasks and personal care. 

Would I benefit from occupational therapy? 

Occupational Therapy is valuable across a broad range of physical and mental health challenges. An OT can provide stability and support for an individual living with a disability; an individual adjusting to life after a sudden injury or illness; as well as children with learning difficulties, injuries or conditions from birth. 

If you feel as though changes to your work, social or home life would make you feel happier and safer, an OT may be right for you. It’s important not to get bogged down in jargon or buzzwords (a common problem when looking for healthcare services). At the end of the day, an OT’s job is to make YOUR life easier, more enjoyable, and more fulfilling. Whether that means help with daily activities, support to socialise and play, or assistance with finances and education, there is a whole-person approach suited to you. 

Humanity Health Group is proud to offer a range of national support services to relieve stress and reduce confusion around your NDIS needs. 

Reach out and speak to a Humanity Health Group team member today! 1300 81 77 91