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What Are the Different Types of Occupational Therapy Activities?

Mental health patients may need reorientation toward activities such as preparing a healthy meal.
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  • Written By: Barbara R. Cochran
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 April 2014
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The goal of occupational therapy activities is to alleviate physical and cognitive disabilities by emphasizing performance, so that children and adults can lead fulfilling lives. The disabilities addressed may be congenital or may have resulted from accident-related injuries. Occupational activities are frequently implemented with the elderly when there is general physical and mental decline due to the aging process. Working with crafts, training in daily skills, and vocational training are all activities that may be performed in occupational therapy.

While the kind and scope of occupational therapy activities has expanded over the years, arts and crafts was the medium through which therapists originally sought to facilitate adaptation and even cure for physical and psychological disabilities. This curative effect is thought to generalize to society. In any case, for many patients, arts and crafts remain an integral part of occupational therapy.

Occupational therapists often address physical problems related to the upper extremities by implementing and directing patient activities to improve fine and/or gross motor skills. For example, making an ashtray with small ceramic tiles would exercise fingers and refine finger movements. Painting on a large canvas might help a patient improve shoulder and elbow extension and flexion, as well as range of movement. Occupational therapy activities for children with motor disturbances include structured play to improve muscle tone and balance. Creative, fun handwriting exercises can help develop fine motor skills in children with hand and/or finger disabilities.

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Mental health paraprofessionals guide psychiatric patients with occupational therapy activities that address crucial day-to-day functioning, as well as employment issues. These kinds of patients, after a setback, sometimes need reorientation towards activities like bathing, grooming, cooking healthy meals for themselves, and social interaction. They might also undertake occupational activities that will either update or give them new vocational skills, and the confidence to reintegrate back into the world of work. The patient may need a paraprofessional for training in the use of public transportation, so he or she can get to work. The accomplishment of all those kinds of tasks increases the patients’ self-esteem, especially when they become functioning, productive members of society.

Patients who suffer a temporary yet disabling injury, or who are permanently physically disabled, may also benefit from occupational therapy activities that address the basic skills of day-to-day living. Rehabilitative activities centered around walking, getting up and down from chairs, toileting, meal preparation, and grooming may be indicated. In general, all of these activities help a patient assume adaptive measures if a complete physical recovery does not come about within a short time, or is impossible. Occupational therapy activities that assist those with a permanent physical disability often revolve around learning how to use specialized equipment to carry out daily tasks.

People who form part of the elderly population are often faced with declines in vision, memory, and mobility. Occupational therapy activities for senior patients often focus on enabling them to remain as independent as possible. Remedial driver’s training can make it possible for some elderly patients to remain on the roads, for a period longer than originally anticipated. If vision becomes too impaired for driving, an occupational therapy professional might train the elderly individual to use the public transportation system in his or her town.

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Discuss this Article

anon226694
Post 5

what are the diffident types of vocational training we can conduct as play therapy for handicapped children so that the therapist also finds its easier to make them understand and children also do the task properly?

TrogJoe19
Post 4

@dbuckley212

Well, you have to work hard to get places in life, don't expect it to be handed to you on a silver platter.

dbuckley212
Post 3

@Renegade

Certain work environments can be psychologically harmful. When every employee and employer is bitter and double-crossing, any friendships that are formed are used merely to get an edge on other people. Realizing the big picture of this, and the noxious emotions polluting the workplace, one can be pretty weighed down on a daily basis. Here in New England, employers respond to these kinds of complaints with "toughen up!" Everyone needs to "be a man." This is crazy.

Renegade
Post 2

Understanding where various workers need improvement and help is an important part of leading a group and conducting good operations. Keeping people happy and able usually keeps them doing good work and finishing the job in a timely and complete fashion.

BigBloom
Post 1

Employees often have little motivation to work and are easily distracted due to neurotic tendencies and a lack of excitement for daily life. This can be dealt with psychologically and requires workplace morale. Morale and motivation for an excitement to do ones job can come from a number of places. It is the job of the higher-ups to ensure that creativity and enjoyment of tasks is fostered.

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