Working with people with disabilities, injuries, or impairments, occupational therapists help develop, recover, or maintain the meaningful activities, or occupations, of individuals or groups. Through evaluation and treatment, they promote the client's capacity to participate in daily activities that are both useful and satisfying. Occupational therapy intervention and the organization of specific therapy programs are coordinated with the work of other professionals and health care personnel. Occupational therapy is used for a wide range of diseases and disorders and also prepares children with developmental difficulties to lead healthy and normal lives.
The practise of occupational therapy focuses on the maintenance of health, prevention of disability, and improvement of participation in occupations after illness, accident, or disability. Occupational therapy, use of self-care and work and play activities to promote and maintain health, prevent disability, increase independent function, and enhance development. Occupation includes all the activities or tasks that a person performs each day. An occupational therapist works with persons who are unable to carry out the various activities that they want, need, or are expected to perform. Therapists are skilled in analyzing daily activities and tasks, and they work to construct therapy programs that enable persons to participate more satisfactorily in daily occupations.
Roles of Occupational therapists in Zambia
Occupational therapists help people of all ages to improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, socially or emotionally disabling. They also help them to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. Occupational therapists help clients not only to improve their basic cognitive function and reasoning abilities but also to compensate for permanent loss of occupation. Occupational therapists assist clients in performing activities of all types, ranging from using a computer to caring for daily needs such as dressing, cooking, and eating. Activity training may be used to improve the activity of daily living and dexterity, while other activities may be chosen to improve visual acuity and the ability to discern patterns. For example, a client with short-term memory loss might be encouraged to make lists to aid recall, and a person with perceptual problems might be assigned occupational activity to improve perceptual ability.
Occupational therapists are often skilled in psychological strategies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and may use cognitive therapy, especially when introducing people to new strategies for carrying out daily activities such as activity pacing or using effective communication strategies.
Occupational therapy for children
Occupational therapy is not just for adults, but children too. The early years of a child’s life, especially the first 3 years, are very important because during those years the cognitive, social, and physical development of the child takes place. Though, not every child passes through these developmental milestones, without difficulties. Some children do not mature as they should, and have restricted or delayed progression. If a child faces these problems and needs support to develop optimally, then occupational therapy may be of great help.
The therapy is carried out according to the child’s disability or condition. Occupational therapists evaluate the child and then set a therapy procedure to improve the processing and enable new learning. There are various procedures that are used, and a lot of importance is related to the therapy. Occupational therapy helps children with developmental difficulties have improved development, improved cognitive and interaction skills.