April is Occupational Therapy Month: Can You Recognize the Top Four Myths?

occupational therapy, OT, dressing oneself, daily routine

Occupational therapists (OTs) help patients return to the everyday tasks that make up a person’s normal routine after an injury, accident, illness or other health issue. Check out these four misconceptions about what an occupational therapist does:

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 attending social events.

Myth #2: Occupational therapy is the same as physical therapy.

FACT: OTs work closely with physical therapists (PTs). A PT works on overall mobility and strength while an OT focuses on the activities done with mobility and strength. For example, while a patient recovers after a stroke, a PT will help a patient regain strength to the affected leg and foot; simultaneously, an OT will address toileting abilities, including zippers, and stabilizing the body and hand functions.

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. An OT is appropriate for anyone who wants to increase overall independence at any stage of life. An OT can help a child with attention 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 handwriting.

occupational therapy, OT, daily living

Myth #4: OTs only work on hands and upper extremities.

FACT: OTs actually 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.

For more information, visit memorial.health.com.