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At Invo-Progressus, our team of licensed and board-certified occupational therapists (OTs) serve children, adolescents, and their families, as well as supporting school staff, by promoting active participation in daily activities and offering prevention, promotion, and interventions for various populations and settings. Our OTs support student’s psychological, physical, emotional, sensory, cognitive, and social needs at home, school, and in the community through the use of research and evidence based practice models to empower students of all abilities.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
The role of the occupational therapist is to help individuals:
- Identify the tasks and activities that are most important to them and their families
- Conduct activity and environmental analysis to make recommendations that maximize a student’s ability to participate in daily activities as functionally and independently as possible
- Reduce barriers that prevent access to daily tasks and routines, including recommending modifications to home and classroom environments that help all students access and participate in these settings
- Provide assistive technology and adaptive equipment recommendations to support daily success
- Prepare student’s for transition to post-academic settings as well as independent living
- Participate as part of the Response to Intervention (RtI) and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) teams to support student success in the school setting
- Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams, including Speech and Language Pathologists, Physical Therapists, School and Community Psychologists, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Teachers, and Administrators, to support student success throughout their day
To achieve these objectives, OTs use specific techniques and tools — including adaptive equipment, therapeutic exercises, home, school, and workplace evaluations, neuromuscular re-education, task analysis, as well as student, staff, and family/caregiver education.
Who Does Occupational Therapy Serve?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career of occupational therapy is projected to show a nearly 25 percent growth rate over the next 10 years. For good reason, too: With the advancing age of the baby boomer generation, more people are facing chronic disease and illness — and as such, are in need of professional help to improve their quality of life and recover from (or manage) disease, illness or injury.
However, occupational therapy isn't just helpful for senior citizens. People of all ages can benefit from participating in occupational therapy activities. OTs work with client populations such as:
- Children with disabilities, who are learning how to appropriately and fully engage in academic, athletic and social situations
- Adults recovering from acute or chronic injuries, who are looking to resume their important work, leisure and family roles
- Older adults looking to regain skills that can help them recover from physical and cognitive health issues and prevent further complications, such as falls
There are numerous reasons why a person may struggle with his or her desired activities. OTs work with people experiencing conditions such as cognitive and behavioral needs (e.g. Autism, Learning Disabilities), congenital disorders (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida), cardiovascular disorders (e.g., stroke), and traumatic injuries (e.g., spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury).
What Does ‘Occupational’ Mean?
"Occupational" in this sense refers to any activity that occupies a person’s time, and may include playing, learning, sleeping and resting, interacting with friends, getting dressed, and other daily activities. Children’s primary "occupation" is play, but they also are tasked with learning age-appropriate developmental skills (rolling, sitting, scooting/crawling, walking, etc.).
As students get older, their occupational activities may include their actual vocation as well as activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, dressing and grooming. OTs also help clients relearn skills known as instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which help a person live independently — such as cleaning, computer use, meal preparation and money management.
Benefits of Occupational Therapy and What to Expect in a Typical Care Plan
Physical and cognitive occupational therapy offers unique benefits to its clients, since it focuses primarily on what a client can do and how he or she can do it better — rather than simply trying to "fix" a condition or "treat" symptoms. It's a holistic, solutions-oriented therapy that involves a great deal of innovation, creativity, environmental modification and evidence-based theory on the part of the occupational therapist.
OTs work in schools, hospitals, outpatient practices, and even within client’s homes. A typical occupational therapy intervention includes:
- A comprehensive examination:
- At school, this would include the student, school staff and the student’s family. Together, this team would assess the environments and skills, as well as any barriers that need to be address in order to promote active and full participation throughout the academic day. This may include needs in the areas of motor skills (e.g. participating at recess/physical education, cutting, art activities), visual perceptual skills (e.g. handwriting, copying from the board), sensory skills (e.g. self- or emotional-regulation), and executive functioning skills (e.g. staying on task, organization).
- In the community and clinic-based setting, the student, the student’s family, and the OT would determine the client’s goals and current needs to fully engage in daily life. This may include needs in the areas of motor skill development (e.g. sitting, crawling, walking, grasping, coloring), feeding skills, sensory and social skill development.
- A customized intervention or plan of care crafted to help the student achieve his or her goals and improve his or her functioning and independence in various settings.
- A periodic evaluation to track the student’s progress and adjust or modify the goals and intervention as indicated.
Wondering if occupational therapy intervention could be the right choice for you or your loved one? Interested in joining one of the most exciting and fast-growing careers in health care? Contact Invo-Progressus today to learn more.