Occupational therapy – many people have heard of it, but not everyone truly understands what it means. Formally, occupational therapy (or OT) helps individuals build life and work skills they need to use (or want to use) in their daily lives.
What age groups do occupational therapists help?
Occupational therapy is a unique field in that occupational therapists (or OTs) work with patients of all ages, ranging from newborn babies to elderly adults. While OTs can help patients in all age groups, the goals of therapy and structure of sessions are different for adult and pediatric patients (as you might guess).
Where do occupational therapists work?
In addition to working with patients of all ages, they can also work in many different settings, including clinics, community centers, hospitals, nursing homes or senior living facilities, private practices, schools, and universities. OTs may also provide occupational therapy at home for patients who are unable to travel to a designated facility for therapy.
Occupational therapy for adults
Occupational therapy can be a necessary tool for adults who sustain an injury or experience a disability. An OT can help the patient to build or improve the skills that they would need to find a new job or keep a job. Some of these skills might include honing motor skills to use a computer or machinery. An OT can also provide an evaluation to determine whether a person who is injured is able to return back to work, as well as whether their tasks need to be adapted to avoid further injury. Occupational therapy can also be necessary for geriatric patients to address a variety of issues including Alzheimer’s, effects of a stroke, preventing falls, or modifying homes to fit a motorized wheelchair, for example.
Occupational therapy for children
Although children do not have occupations in the same sense that adults do, their daily activities are considered “occupations” that can be addressed by OTs. The skills targeted in pediatric occupational therapy are typically different than goals targeted in adult occupational therapy, as they will focus on skills needed to learn, play, and socialize. This might also include working on sensory processing issues and speech or language delays. In order to keep children engaged during an occupational therapy session, the sessions may also incorporate games or other fun activities. The parents will also be involved in pediatric OT sessions, in order to incorporate these targeted skills into activities at home (outside of sessions with the occupational therapist).
Are you interested in OT services for your child in the Chicago area? Contact us or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about the range of services we provide for children at Chicago Occupational Therapy, including applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.