One of the modern methods of rehabilitation is occupational therapy. Broadly speaking, this means ‘occupational therapy’ or occupation therapy’, the treatment of individuals with disabilities through the selection of a particular occupation in order to restore or develop their maximum level of function and independence in all aspects of life, their socialisation and their integration into society. In this context, ’employment’ means any way of spending time, from self-care (dressing, personal hygiene) to productive activities such as domestic work, and recreational activities (sports, play, hobbies and social life).
What is occupational therapy do?
The aim of therapy is to improve the quality and standard of living of persons with disabilities.
The expected result after therapy is the adaptive learning of self-care and mobility skills in the occupational therapy room. The use by disabled children of the acquired knowledge and skills in everyday life will enable them to increase their independence and autonomy. Labour training and education for children with disabilities in the institution is provided by carers and a labour instructor. The work instructor facilitates the development of practical skills and abilities in the process of organizing productive activities (work with paper, plasticine, fabric and thread, and natural materials).
Principles of occupation therapy
Participation in occupation activities is vital. Such participation enables children to meet their natural needs and acquire the skills and abilities needed to cope with life’s challenges, achieving a sense of satisfaction and meaningfulness.
Participation in occupation activities is an important component of the child’s social adjustment. Occult activities take place in a particular social and cultural environment. Disruption to occupational activities can affect the ability to fulfil social responsibilities.
Every child is actively involved in the OT process. The relationship between the child and the OT specialist is collaborative. They both contribute their knowledge, skills and experience to the process and participate in the development and implementation of OT techniques.
There must be a balance between the elements that make up an occupation, which is necessary to ensure a healthy and supportive lifestyle. Self-care, leisure and work activities form a certain structure in everyday life. The opportunity for activities in each of the three areas ensures that the child’s occupational needs are met.
Occupational activities can take place in a form that enables the child to integrate into social life. Both their abilities and their surroundings must therefore be taken into account.
Occupational activities are used as therapy: occupational activities enable the development of the child’s abilities and skills to adapt to their environment.
The aim of the activity is to restore as much as possible the child’s ability to live independently (self-care, productive activities, recreation) through specially simulated situations, spaces, environments.
Main scope of occupational therapy
- Formation of social skills and abilities that contribute to the adaptation of a child with disabilities to life in the social and everyday environment;
- Helping children with disabilities to acquire independence skills, communicate with their peers and expand their sphere of life activity;
Creating a “situation of success” to facilitate the self-actualisation of a child with disabilities.
How effective is occupational therapy
Occupational therapy stands as a crucial rehabilitation method for individuals with disabilities, particularly children. It aims to enable these individuals to attain their highest possible level of functionality, independence, and integration into society, regardless of their disability. Occupational therapy goes beyond mere medical treatment; it provides holistic care that addresses a broad spectrum of life aspects, from self-care to recreational and productive activities.
The key principle of this approach is active participation in occupational activities, which allows children to meet their natural needs and acquire the necessary skills for facing life’s challenges. These activities serve as a platform for social adjustment and offer a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
Moreover, the therapeutic process in occupational therapy fosters collaboration between the child and the occupational therapy specialist, ensuring that every child is actively involved. The balance between self-care, leisure, and work activities forms a healthy and supportive structure in their everyday lives.
The ultimate goal of occupational therapy is to restore and improve the child’s capacity to live independently. Through the creation of “situations of success”, occupational therapy aims to foster self-actualization in disabled children, thus enabling them to expand their sphere of life activities, communicate with their peers, and adapt better to the social and everyday environment. With the continuous advancement in therapeutic methods, occupational therapy promises to offer more efficient techniques to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.