As you know, I am in the Occupational Therapy program at Utica College! Like I have mentioned previously, I am in my first year of graduate studies for the program and it is also my fourth year of college. Pretty cool, right? I know this coming month is March, but I am so excited for April! April is Occupational Therapy month and to celebrate it, I would love to give you a post a week about: the program, Occupational Therapy in general, my classes, fieldwork and anything else you may want to know! Physical Therapy tends to get a lot of attention, but Occupational Therapy is equally as important and when we work with the Physical Therapists on a client, we are a great team in helping the client! I will give you a briefing on the differences in Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Physical Therapy because they are all similar, they tend to work on the same clients and all of it can be confusing!
There are so many definitions of Occupational Therapy (OT) because it is so broad and there is a lot to it. My personal definition would be that: OT is a type of therapy to help rehabilitate people of any age with physical and/or mental diagnosis’s to enhance their quality of life. Even something that sounds as simple as putting on a pair of pants can mean everything to a client. Occupational Therapists work with the client to help them regain independence and to help them get back to doing their occupations that are meaningful to them. An occupation can be anything from getting dressed, going to work, riding a horse, ect. Occupations do not just mean work!
Speech Therapy is a type of therapy that focusses on improving speech, language and oral motor control. This therapy can be used on children who may not be able to talk or for elders who have difficulty swallowing. It is for a wide range of diagnosis’s like OT and can be used for many of the same clients.
This is where it can be tricky between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy! Physical Therapy (PT) is like OT because it works with many of the same clients and it also works on physical impairments. They are different because a PT looks at the body in a biomechanical way and focusses on the injured structures of the body and an OT looks at the body as a whole and focusses on functionality and improving quality of life. A PT looks specifically at mobility and function physically. For example: if an 84 year old man falls and breaks his hip, the pT will focus on getting him to be able to stand and walk again. The Ot will work on some of the same things but they will also focus on helping the man with his activities of daily living and help him adapt to his injured hip in the process of healing.
I am not a professional at explaining this yet and the differences in PT and Ot, but I hope this helped a bit!
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