Myths of occupational therapy

There is a lot of confusion surrounding occupational therapy treatment. In the simplest terms, occupational therapists help people across their lifespan participate in the actions they want and need to through the therapeutic use of everyday activities or occupations.

Myth#1: Occupational therapy is for your job or to help you find a job.
Occupational therapy is treatment that focuses on helping people reach independence for the purpose of living. Independence might mean getting dressed without assistance or learning to write the letter “B” or even just playing.

Myth #2: Occupational therapy is only for the disabled population.
This is false. Occupational therapists work with people of all ages and abilities. An OT can help a newborn with an abnormal development pattern, a child learn to tie their shoes, a 30-year-old with a broken wrist or an 82-year-old stroke victim learn to put on a shirt.

Myth #3: Occupational therapy and physical therapy are the same.
Occupational therapy focuses on what a patient needs to live an independent life, such as get dressed, accomplish household tasks, work, play and enjoy leisure activities. Occupational therapists help find what is preventing an individual from being as independent as possible. OT focuses on fine motor skills, while physical therapy focuses on gross motor skills and mobility. Although the focus for OT practitioners is different, the goal is the same … to improve patients’ quality of life.

Myth #4: Occupational therapists only work at hospitals.
Occupational therapists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, schools and others.

If you know someone who you feel can benefit from occupational therapy, please contact a primary care physician who can provide a referral to a specialist.

Stacy Tapscott is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist with Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital who works at EMPOWER in AL!VE. She can be reached at 517-541-5800, option 2.

Published in the Charlotte Shopping Guide, March 2014