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16 May 2019

Occupational therapists: What they do and how they can help you.

This is the second story in our series about allied health professionals and how they can help you. In our first story, we looked at the role of Speech therapists: what they do and how they can help you.

Today, we’ll take a look at occupational therapists.

Occupational therapists provide support for people whose health or disability makes it difficult for them to do everyday tasks and activities. They are often called OTs.

Occupational therapists are great problem solvers! They identify areas where people might need help to do things like look after themselves, attend school or work, or be part of the community. They figure out solutions to challenges and adapt tasks to suit your needs.

What does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapists work with people who have physical disabilities or mental health conditions.

They will usually start by reviewing your medical history, asking questions and observing you doing tasks. Once they have all this information, they will develop an action plan to support you to achieve your goals.

Other things occupational therapists do include:

  • Show you how to do different tasks such as taking a shower or preparing food
  • Teach you exercises to relieve pain
  • Coordinate respite care
  • Organise home and vehicle modifications
  • Involve parents or carers to assist as required
  • Recommend special equipment such as wheelchairs or prosthetic devices and show you how to use them.

How can an occupational therapist help you?

Assistance with daily tasks
An occupational therapist can modify daily tasks to make them easier for you to perform as well as identify equipment that can assist, such as eating aids.

Multi-step activities
They can help you with more complex activities such as managing your household, visiting the doctor or doing the shopping.

Be active in the community
Occupational therapists can increase your confidence in social situations and organise transport to get you where you want to go.

Education and learning
Some occupational therapists work in educational settings where they support both children and adults to learn more effectively.  

Technology and equipment
They’ll recommend the right technology for your needs and show you how to use it. In some cases, they will recommend modifications or new equipment at home, work or school so you can do more things for yourself.

Occupational therapists work closely with doctors and other allied health professionals such as speech therapists and psychologists.

We can help you.

If you have any questions about occupational therapists and the NDIS or would like help getting started on your NDIS journey, call us on 1300 05 78 78.