April is Occupational Therapy Month: Can You Recognize the Top Four Myths?
Occupational therapists (OTs) form healthcare’s front line to help patients return to the everyday tasks that make up a person’s normal routine after a health issue. Check out these four misconceptions about what they do:
Myth #1: OTs help people find jobs.
FACT: The word “occupation” in occupational therapy refers to everyday tasks that “occupy” your time – tasks that help people fulfill roles at home, work, and school or at rest. These tasks can include basic things like dressing every morning or more advanced tasks like enjoying hobbies, going to school or work and social events.
Myth #2: OT is the same as physical therapy.
FACT: OTs work closely with Physical Therapists (PTs). PT works on overall mobility and strength while OT focuses on the activities done with mobility and strength. For example, while a patient recovers after a stroke, PT will help regain the strength to the affected leg and foot; simultaneously, OT will address toileting, including zippers, stabilizing the body and hand function.
Myth #3: OTs only work with elderly patients or those with special needs.
FACT: OTs work with people of all ages, including newborns and children. OT is appropriate for anyone who wants to increase overall independence at any stage of life. OT can help a child with attentional and sensory issues, an adult with a spinal cord injury who needs to learn how to feed himself, or a child who struggles with self-regulation or hand writing.
Myth #4: OTs only work on hands and upper extremities.
FACT: OT’s work on all parts of the body, with a focus on returning to functional and meaningful activities after an injury, illness or life changing event.
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