What makes occupational therapy critical for people with disabilities. – Guest column by Dr M Arun Kumar
Dr M Arun Kumar is the Principal at Saveetha College of Occupational Therapy in Tamil Nadu and Executive Member of All India Occupational Therapists’ Association (AIOTA). In our guest column this week, Arun Kumar writes about the benefits of occupational therapy in lives of people with disabilities and why a good occupational therapist is important.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a health care profession to increase the individual’s independence using activities that includes everyday tasks. The primary goal of OT is to regain or promote independence by eliminating environmental barriers. This form of therapy is designed to help patients who struggle with completion of everyday tasks like dressing, brushing, bathing, shopping, walking, or even writing. The role OT start from neonatal to palliative care.
OT has an important role in lives of people with disabilities. In fact, it can help people with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities to find solutions to task limitations, improving their ability to take part in activities that are necessary in day to day life. This in turn improves overall quality of life.
People with physical disabilities may also benefit from adaptive devices where occupational therapist plays a major role in measurements, feasibility and appropriateness of the devices to the person with disability.
The occupational therapist follows the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act to evaluate a client and help in receiving various government schemes to reduce the family’s financial burden.
The main goal of OT in disability is to gain access in the environment by decreasing barriers. For example, a child with learning disability might have poor academic performance. The occupational therapist focusses on eliminating school environmental barriers for the child and treats her/his cognitive and physical impairment so that they can participate in school activities. Occupational therapist has a vital role in adult, mental health and geriatric conditions too.
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