New to Occupational Therapy? Here Is What You Should Know

August 3, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

In truth, all of us could probably use a little therapy. But for wheelchair users, there are certain therapists that are always helpful: occupational therapists.

These thankless medical professionals visit many wheelchair users in their homes, helping them adjust to their new life and the challenges it presents. So if you’ve been referred to an occupational therapist, that’s a good thing! Your life is going to get a lot easier; and that’s an idea we promote here.

Here’s what you should know about occupational therapy:

  • Occupational therapists are professionals

These folks may be informal and will often come directly into your home, but don’t let that fool you. They’ve been extensively trained for years, and usually possess some sort of advanced degree (master’s or doctorate).

  • Don’t get stuck on terminology

When you hear “occupation” you probably think of a job or career. But in this case, “occupational” refers to whatever “occupies” your time. Whatever your daily routine is, the occupational therapist will help you get faster and more efficient at it.

  • Express your difficulties/problems

Bottom line: occupational therapists want your life to be easier. Therefore, you should discuss any particular difficulties with them. What do you want to get better at? What are your pain points? Tell it all to the therapist.

  • Give the therapist free reign of the house

Aside from evaluating your abilities, the therapist is also going to take a look around the house. There are many ways a home can be adapted to wheelchair users, which the therapist will help you discover. And if you’re new to a wheelchair, this advice can be invaluable. There are dozens of things that haven’t occurred to you yet, such as the size of your doorframes: will you be able to comfortably pass through in your wheelchair?

  • Keep an open mind

As mentioned above, these folks have extensive training, so you should trust their judgment – even when you don’t agree with it. The therapist will make many recommendations, but it’s not required that you follow any of them. Our advice? Your therapist is probably right about most stuff. If they want to order some anti-tip bars for your wheelchair, you should let them!

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