What to expect when I meet an occupational therapist?
Any person using the title 'occupational therapist' has completed specialised training in Occupational Therapy resulting in a Dip COT/BSc/MSc in Occupational Therapy. All occupational therapists practicing in Ireland must be registered with CORU and occupational therapists are required to state that they are a CORU Registered occupational therapist and provide their CORU registration number.
Your initial assessment will involve the occupational therapist talking to you to find out how your illness, injury or disability is affecting you and your occupations - the everyday things we do to take care of ourselves and others; socialise and have fun; and work and contribute to our community/society.
When an occupational therapist assesses you or your child they may do any of the following to help them identify how they can help you:
- Get you to explain what has been happening in your life and the difficulties you are experiencing
- Involve you in activities that will demonstrate the difficulties you are having doing everyday activities
- Use formal tests and Occupational Therapy assessment
- Do a home visit to see how you are managing with your everyday occupations at home
- Other types of assessment, e.g. a group activity
When the assessment is complete the occupational therapist will work with you to identify goals that Occupational Therapy can help you achieve. They will listen to what is important to you and see if they can either, help restore your ability to do your eveyday occupations, or find another way of achieving your goal.
Example of Occupational Therapy with a Child
A child who is struggling with handwriting in school may attend Occupational Therapy to improve their hand skills. If this is not possible the occupational therapist may help them develop alternative ways of producing written work by using technology. The occupational therapist may also be able to help the child with any other occupations they are struggling with such as playing, dressing and other daily activities requiring the use of their hands.
Example of Occupational Therapy with an Adult
An man who requires his home to be adapted to suit his needs due a physical disability is referred to Occupational Therapy. The occupational therapist will carry out a home visit to assess what changes are required to enable him to live independently in his own home and be able to engage fully in his daily occupations. The occupational therapist will work with him to make a plan for adapting his home and support him in implementing this plan.
Example of Occupational Therapy in Mental Health
A young woman experiencing depression is referred to Occupational Therapy as she has withdrawn from seeing her friends and has stopped going to college. The occupational therapist carries an Occupational Therapy assessment examining how depression is affecting all of the woman's occupations - the everyday activities that she want and needs to do but is struggling with. Together they make a plan for how she will return to participating in her previously enjoyed activities, return to socialing and get back to college. To do this they worked on activity planning, time management, goal setting, self-care activities and building skills for coping with low mood.