Occupational therapy helps people to manage the activities which occupy a person’s life, well-being, education, home life, and other everyday activities.

Occupational therapy is helpful for people experiencing physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. Through the intervention of occupational therapists, people are able to learn life skills and improve their abilities in self-care, education, and independence. Some of the important areas addressed in occupational therapy include:

Providing respite to those who are responsible for the primary care and support of a person with a developmental disability is considered an “indirect” service since it does not directly benefit the person with the disability. When a family member, Family Care provider, or live-in/house-parent staff member is dealing with a family sickness, emergency, or caregiver or staff vacation, respite services can help to guarantee that their loved one’s needs are fulfilled while they are absent.

Respite care provides short-term child care services to parents and other caregivers in order to provide temporary reprieve, promote family stability, and lessen the likelihood of abuse or neglect occurring in the home. During crises or times of crisis, respite care can be organized or made available. Foster, kinship, and adoptive families, as well as birth families in need of help, may be able to take advantage of respite services.

Respite services can be either in the form of a planned respite or a sudden respite. At AC cares, we are able to get the respite that you need, so that you can return happy and refreshed to your all-important role as caretaker.

Additionally, respite care can be in the home or out of the home, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Fine motor control
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Basic life skills
  • School skills

Fine motor skills means doing particular things involving the hands and fingers, such as the ability to pick up objects – such as a child grasping and releasing a toy, typing, handwriting, hand tasks using tools, or computer skills. When a person has poor fine motor skills, they may be unable to participate in daily life independently, as so many activities done regularly involve fine motor control. Working with an occupational therapist will not only help the person to gain independence by increasing the number and variety of tasks they are able to complete independently, but will also magnify the person’s confidence and self-esteem when they aren’t so reliant upon others.

Hand-eye coordination involves being able to coordinate the actions of one’s hands with what is seen. While hand-eye coordination may be well developed and even unconscious in many people, for others, seemingly simple tasks such as catching a ball or stacking objects may feel like an insurmountable task. Occupational therapy works to improve hand-eye coordination, which helps people in play, sports and daily living.

Basic life skills are those tasks which a person accomplishes every day in self-care and survival. While basic life skills may feel natural and instinctual to some people, for others, such life skills as eating independently, bathing, getting dressed, and brushing teeth are challenges too overwhelming to achieve daily. Occupational therapy works to teach and improve daily life skills, which are vital for independent living and personal development.

School skills – from handwriting to handling manipulatives – enhance the school experience for children, and are an important area of focus for occupational therapists working with school-age children. Children lacking in such abilities find that the task of learning and absorbing new material is overshadowed by the difficulties in navigating the classroom, homework and classwork tasks, and social school scenarios. Occupational therapists work to improve needed skills for school, which help to build confidence and open the door to learning on a higher level in school.

Who Can Benefit from Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is beneficial to children and people of all ages with physical, sensory, or cognitive problems. Whether a person has experiences an injury, illness or other traumatic event during their life, or has been dealing with a condition or disability since birth, the particular fine motor control, hand-eye coordination

There are many people whose lives would be enhanced through the work of occupational therapists, helping with independence and self-esteem. These include

  • People with sensory processing disorders
  • Children diagnosed with autism
  • Those who have suffered birth injuries or birth defects
  • People dealing with mental health issues
  • Someone with a traumatic injury to the brain or spinal cord
  • Youth with learning problems or behavioral issues
  • People with broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
  • Those with developmental delays
  • Those suffering from chronic illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida
  • Those suffering from Pervasive Development Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified

People at a variety of ages and ability levels can benefit from occupational therapy, and master skills that will help them to lead full and independent lives. At AC Cares, we have a strong network of occupational therapists to refer and serve our client community. Whether a person requires short-term occupational therapy in order to work on specific skill sets or long-term OT to address issues that may be evolving, AC cares has Occupational therapists for all needs and areas of specialization.

What is the difference between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy and occupational therapy both help improve a person’s quality of life, and both deal with physical motions. However, there are distinct differences between the two. but there are differences.

Physical therapy (PT) helps with the improvement of gross motor skills which means large-muscle movements made with the arms, legs, feet, or entire body – while occupational therapy (OT) works to improve fine motor skills, such as those made with the hands, fingers, and toes.

Physical therapy (PT) works with people who are experiencing pain or lack of muscle-ability to improve strength, endurance, and range of motion, while occupational therapy (OT) works with those experience frustration and inability to accomplish tasks due to sensory-processing, visual-perceptual skills, and cognitive (thinking) skills.

While both physical therapy and occupational therapy may be used concurrently, they are each dealing with a different set of issues and will help the person in specific ways.

What Else Can Occupational Therapy Accomplish?

Occupational therapists help people to navigate the hurdles in their lives which are negatively affecting their emotional, social, and physical needs.

On an emotional level, occupational therapy helps people to manage frustration and anger by learning positive skills and behaviors to navigate life successfully. OT boosts a person’s self-esteem and sense of accomplishment as they are able to master different tasks and gain independence and a sense of autonomy.

Socially, occupational therapy assists people with those tasks needed to successfully build relationships, including the ability to play games, attend school, and integrate with others. Once various skills are taught and mastered, a person is able to focus more upon relationships and living and working with others.

Physical needs are addressed with occupational therapy, including daily life skills needed for independence and self-preservation. Occupational therapists begin by evaluating a person’s needs and abilities, and create a program specific to that person to learn and master those skills needed to address one’s physical needs.

Occupational therapists also work with various types of special equipment a person may need to master, such as wheelchairs, splints, bathing equipment, dressing devices, and communication aids. Such equipment must be mastered by a person in order to use them effectively and without frustration, and occupational therapists are trained to tailor their work toward embracing the technology and equipment that will best improve the quality of life for a person.