So you want to help people through occupational therapy? How do you know what specialty suits your particular interests? Well, consider whether you would want to help children or elderly, injured or handicapped, in their home or at a school, etc.
For OTs that have a desire to help older adults, the field of geriatrics might just be what you’re looking for in your career. Whether it be basic tasks like dressing, eating, or walking…or larger problems such as being unable to speak without the use of a computer, geriatric occupational therapists are able to provide the right treatment for elderly people. The goal is to help seniors be as independently-capable as possible.
When patients come to healthcare professionals like rheumatologists and primary care physicians with hand and elbow issues, they can expect to receive referrals to a hand therapists. Arthritis, sports injuries, fracture, work-related injuries, and carpal tunnel are all things that are treated in hand therapy. Typically, a patient can expect an OT or PT trained in hand therapy to design a perfect exercise program for restoring motion, helping pain, relearning skills about nerve injury, or recover after surgery. Hand therapy is ideal for anyone looking to get “hands on.”
Whether you’re in a school, facility or home setting, pediatric OTs help disabled children learn the basics of socializing and functioning so that they are able to perform a successful life. Young children might need help crawling, coloring, eating, following directions, and more. The role of a pediatric occupational therapist is to evaluate the strengths and difficulties of a child in order to create a plan to develop the necessary skills. There may be sensory processing, visual-motor integration, fine-motor skills (coordination), or fine-motor skill development issues to tackle. Do you want to make a difference in the lives of children and their families? The the specialty of pediatrics might be just up your alley.
Much like pediatric occupational therapy, early intervention helps young children become able to participate in daily living tasks like playing, social interacting, rest, education, etc. However, in early intervention, services are usually solely intended for infants and toddlers under the age of three. Programs are family-centered and help the child bond within the walls of their home and other natural environments.
Home care occupational therapists step into a patients home in order to grant them easily accessible to services that help them gain functional independence in their home. Home visits can involve teaching about safety in the client’s home, help caregivers with instruction on working, and aid individuals in a quest for gaining functionality/independence at home.
Mental health is a ever-growing cause of disability. Therefore, occupational therapists put a prevention and health treatments of young and aging individuals in high regard. The purpose of OT for mental health is to help people enjoy a higher quality of life through learning about stress management, problem-solving, self-awareness, normal daily activities (like showering), self-sufficiency, role development, time management, safety, social skills, and assertiveness.
Physical rehabilitation OTs help sick or injured recover so that they are once again able to conduct their daily tasks or jobs. This is the more exercise-oriented division of occupational therapy.