Occupational therapy helps with physical and/or cognitive challenges that interfere with a person’s ability to complete everyday tasks that are important to them. This can have an impact on physical and mental health when a person loses their sense of purpose or independence.
Occupational therapy focuses on daily tasks and is complimentary to other forms of rehabilitation, including physiotherapy. There is some overlap with physiotherapy but also key differences. Physiotherapy may focus on building strength, coordination, and mobility, whereas occupational therapy will focus on these elements, combined with goals that are specific towards the execution of daily tasks. For example, physiotherapy may help with standing tolerance and occupational therapy will help with standing at the sink to do dishes.
Physical challenges that can impact the performance of daily tasks can be permanent, which can happen after a spinal cord injury or post stroke; temporary, after a hip or knee replacement surgery; or progressive when it involves a disease such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Parkinson’s. Similarly, cognitive challenges can also affect the execution of daily tasks, which can be permanent, in the case of autism or post stroke; temporary, after a concussion; or progressive, when it involves dementia or the general impacts of aging.
The benefits of occupational therapy are far reaching and can help round out the rehabilitation experience. At Synaptic, we complete an assessment, which helps to understand the challenges experienced in specific tasks, so we can develop an appropriate plan. This will address the impacts on skill development because of a physical or cognitive challenge; adaptation, which makes a task or environment more manageable; and education, which teaches how to manage occupations both inside and outside the clinic.