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What Does Occupational Therapy Do?

By Apricus Health

30th September 2022

Occupational therapy is a field of allied health that helps people of all ages participate in everyday tasks that they find challenging.

Occupational therapists work with clients with disabilities, conditions, injuries or other diagnoses and support them in achieving independence in all aspects of their lives. Occupational therapists help  clients to develop strategies to aid in recovering, rehabilitating, improving and supporting their participation and engagement in everyday tasks.

Apricus Health are North Queensland and Townsville’s leading team of occupational therapists. We work with people from all walks of life to support them to engage in daily living, feel happy and contented and live a productive and meaningful life. From pre-school aged children , to adolescents, adults, older people and people at the end of their lives  we provide those in North Queensland with expert allied health care.

Apricus Health has developed a guide on occupational therapy with all you need to know from when you should see an occupational therapist, to the methods used, and what you can expect from an appointment. 

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is support provided to people  who require assistance to complete  a wide range of tasks at home, at work, at school or in the community. 

These activities include taking care of themselves or others, participating in hobbies or social events, working, engaging in school or study or volunteering 

Occupational therapists will use a variety of methods to first assess the client's needs before creating a treatment or recovery plan which includes a set of goals. The factors considered during the assessment process include:

Standardised assessments

Standardised assessments  in occupational therapy involve looking at specific areas of a person’s function . This can include assessing fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory needs, self-care skills, and visual perceptual skills.

Observations and non-standardised assessments

Observations and non-standardised assessments also help to paint a picture for the occupational therapist.  This can  involve asking questions, or asking the client  to complete some tasks while the therapistobserve.  This can help the therapist to understand what a person is finding difficult so that therapy can be targeted and personalised. . 

Client Interviews 

Client  interviews are part of the initial  consultation. The occupational therapist will ask the client questions about their lifestyle, what they have difficulties with in their daily activities and  what their personal goals are . This process is crucial for occupational therapists as it enables them to work with the client to develop a therapy plan suited to the person.

Social and Cultural Background

Identifying a client's social and cultural background will also be part of the client interviews. This stage is essential in the assessment period as it helps the occupational therapists identify any underlying needs or goals that may be unknown to the clients themselves.

Why Would a Child Need Occupational Therapy?

Children as young as a  toddler may have difficulty performing daily activities such as eating and playing. They may seem clumsier and more uncoordinated than other children their age or perhaps are not reaching their milestones as quickly as expected.

Early intervention is vital and  occupational therapists can help children to prepare for school or support them at school to address developmental challenges.   An occupational therapist’s goal is to ensure all children can engage with their families at home and peers in school and enjoy the same activities that all children of their age do. 

There are many ways in which an occupational therapist works with children but mostly it is through play.  We assess and treat children using specific games and fun activities to address the following areas: 

  • Gross motor (large muscle coordination)
  • Fine motor (small muscle coordination)
  • Sensory processing (the ability to interpret information from all senses)
  • Play
  • Self-care
  • Social skills
  • Emotional regulation

When To See an Occupational Therapist

Are you feeling unsure about when you or someone you know should see an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist may be the right allied health professional when: 

  • You have suffered an injury and it is preventing you from doing certain daily activities
  • You have a chronic health condition
  • You have difficulty performing daily activities
  • You experience pain when completing activities
  • You have recently been diagnosed with a condition that impacts your ability to function independently
  • You are struggling to adapt or adjust to a big change in your life 

For further information on occupational therapy or  to discuss whether an occupational therapist may be the right fit for your, or your child’s, situation, get in touch with Apricus Health today. Here at Apricus Health we are a team of allied health professionals, providing a wide range of treatments to the Townsville and wider North Queensland community.