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OT: Functional Activities as Therapy

If you peek in on an occupational therapy session, you may see the patient playing games, cooking in the kitchen, or teeing up for a round of golf. To the naked eye, these sessions may look like just fun and games. All play and no work. Don’t let the fun fool you, occupational therapists are hard at work helping patients develop skills through functional activities, what we like to call "occupations." Occupations encompass all activities that are meaningful to you, like getting dressed in the morning, cooking, and hobbies such as sports or crafts. Occupational therapists use occupations as a means to achieve therapeutic goals. We are experts in analyzing all the motor, cognitive, and social skills required to complete an activity successfully. Equipped with this knowledge, we guide our patients to adapt activities and develop skills to improve their engagement in those meaningful activities.

So what does this mean for patients in occupational therapy? This means that we are devoted to getting you back to doing any activity that you find meaningful and improving independence to complete these activities successfully through task modifications, adaptive equipment, and skill development. Research suggests that occupation-based interventions are effective in improving performance and participation in the things that you find important and get you back to doing everything you want and need to do on a daily basis!

Wolf, T. J., Chuh, A., Floyd, T., McInnis, K., & Williams, E. (2015). Effectiveness of Occupation-Based Interventions to Improve Areas of Occupation and Social Participation After Stroke: An Evidence-Based Review. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1), 6901180060p1-6901180060p11.

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