Occupational Therapist – Working On Permanent Disabilities


Occupational therapists help people with physical, physiological and mental disabilities as well as developmental delays to perform tasks of daily living independently. They assist people to resume their active and productive life after surgery, accident, injury, and disease. The main purpose of occupational therapy is to enable an individual to regain his physical, emotional, mental and physiological competency.

Permanent disability may be due spinal cord injuries, spinal bifida, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. These disabilities restrict an individual to perform his work and activities of daily living. For instance, a person who suffered from a spinal injury may be paralyzed from waist down. Therefore, his ability walk is impaired. The patient may need to use a wheelchair for him to able to move from one place to another. The responsibility of the occupational therapist is to teach the patient how to use the device properly. In addition, the therapist also teaches the patient the proper way to move to and from the wheelchair.

People with permanent disabilities have limited use of their body. The occupational therapist helps the patient by utilizing the remaining body parts that are functioning properly. The patient is trained to make use of other parts of the body where he can perform his daily tasks. In the case of an individual with cerebral palsy, the role of an occupational therapist is to teach the patient to do simple tasks such as eating, drinking, and dressing himself without assistance from others. The therapist also teaches the patient to learn simple things like colors, shapes, and other things.

Aside from teaching patients how to use the wheelchair properly, occupational therapists also teach other patients how to use the walker, canes and crutches appropriately. Improper use of these devices may cause complication such as muscle stiffness and sprain of the arms.

Occupational therapists must know how to assess and diagnose the condition as well as to identify the needs of each patient. The needs of one patient may be different from another patient. The therapist must have the knowledge and competency to recognize those needs to formulate the most suitable therapeutic program for a specific patient. Exercise and activities are necessary to strengthen the muscles and bones of the body.

Improving the learning and physical capabilities of a person with permanent disability increases his confidence and self-esteem. This is how occupational therapists work. They restore and maintain the physical and physiological as well as mental capabilities of individual with restricted mobility and range of motion, as well as learning inabilities.


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