As an occupational therapist, you often find yourself explaining what you do on the daily. There seems to be a bit of confusion surrounding the world of OT that has led to some common misconceptions. But no worries, because today, we debunk the most common occupational therapy myths.
Myth #1: Occupational Therapy is the Same Thing as Physical Therapy
People often think physical therapy and occupational therapy as the same things, but two have their differences. A physical therapist primarily works with patients that experience issues with mobility and strength. While an occupational therapist helps a patient in areas such as coordination, balance, flexibility, and complex motor movements.
For example, in a patient who experienced a stroke, a physical therapist would help the patient regain any lost muscle function. Although muscle functionality may not be restored completely, an occupational therapist would then step in and work with the patient and help them figure out how day-to-day things in their current condition. It’s best to think of occupational therapy and physical therapy as two halves that make up one whole, then one entity.
Myth #2: Only the Elderly go to Occupational Therapy.
Yes, elderly patients will be a part of your client base, but they won’t be the only type of patient you will wok with. An occupational therapist work with many kinds of people to help reach recovery goals that focus on everyday life, such as learning how to adjust to new surroundings, re-learning how to write, or how to wash and dress. People of all ages encounter situations where they have to adapt to new conditions. Occupational therapists may work with a child with a developmental coordination disorder one day and the next work with an adult who recently diagnosed with a chronic disease.
Myth #3: Occupational Therapy is Repetitive
When working within the realm of occupational therapy, you will meet a lot of patients and be introduced to a variety of environments. Despite what you might hear, you are not tied to one hospital or one clinical setting. Every patient that an occupational therapist encounters will have unique needs, goals, and of course, personality. After all, no two people are exactly alike!
One of the most exciting parts of the job is coming up with new and innovative ideas. By learning more about a patient, an occupational therapist comes up with creative solutions that will fit a patient’s everyday life and assist them on their road to recovery.