How Occupational Therapy Can Help People of All Ages

Occupational therapy is different from physical therapy, which focuses on range of motion exercises to help people gain flexibility and strength in weak muscle groups or speech therapy which demonstrates effective speaking skills. It is, in a sense, a teaching discipline that can be used for many kinds of disabilities in people of all ages. Read on for more information about the many ways that occupational therapy can be effectively used for different age groups.

 The Elderly

Elderly patients receiving occupational therapy in Glenarden Maryland who have had a stroke often need to re-learn basic living skills again such as how to button up their shirt or brush their teeth. Strokes impair physical movement and can damage memory, so this is a slow process requiring a lot of repetition. Often, occupational therapists employ the use of adaptive equipment to aid individuals such as these to being able to regain a portion of their independence back.

For instance, if a stroke patient is having trouble holding a spoon or fork, they might be given one with a larger handle that is easier to hold. Larger plates that have dividers in them can make eating easier, and specialized toilet seats with handles on the sides make getting up and down from the commode less difficult.

Disabled Children

Children born with disabilities such as mental or physical retardation often have learning difficulties and need occupational therapy to be taught skills like how to tie their shoes, ride a bike, use scissors to cut things out from paper, or color inside the lines. It can also help them adapt to new situations emotionally if they are having sensory sensitivities. Depending on the severity of the disability, children might receive occupational therapy for a short period of time to learn a specific task or for several years.

People Who Have Had Physical Trauma

Victims of physical trauma from an accident, war, or natural disaster often need occupational therapy if they have suffered some type of brain injury or severe muscle injury which impairs their movements. Often in cases such as this, they would receive other cooperating types of therapies along with counseling to help cope with the trauma.

Occupational therapy can help them by teaching them to use walkers, canes, grabbing tools and even sports equipment. They might also be put together with other people who have a similar disability for group physical therapy to help everyone learn new adaptive ways to handle the stress and symptoms of their injuries.
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