Occupational Therapy: Information for New Wheelchair Users

May 11, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

If you’re new to being in a wheelchair, then we’re glad you’re here. Our blog, our website – heck, our entire company – is geared toward making life easier, simpler and quicker for wheelchair users. So you’ve come to the right place!

Today I want to introduce you to a concept that’s worth your time: occupational therapy. What is it? Why does it help? Why do you need it? Let’s talk about it.

Don’t get hung up on terminology

“Occupation” usually refers to your job or career, so is this job training? Not necessarily. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call occupational therapy something like “daily life” therapy, because that’s how it functions.

In a nutshell, occupational therapy aims to make your daily life easier. How is this accomplished? With the help of a certified occupational therapist. And that’s important, because these people have usually gone to school for a long time and been extensively trained. In short, these are qualified professionals.

How qualified?

Well, almost all occupational therapists have an advanced degree, meaning at least a master’s. However, some therapists have doctorates as well. And if you’re worried about training, don’t stress: occupational therapists are required to complete extensive fieldwork as part of their education.

What can they do for me?

I said they make your life easier, that’s not enough? All right, let’s go over some details then.

An occupational therapist will start as an evaluator. They’ll use their expertise and training to properly evaluate your home, your workplace and/or your school. They’re looking for any potential problem areas and will aim to provide workable solutions. Sometimes, this means environmental changes; for instance, they could advocate installing bars on the shower walls to assist in entering and exiting.

They’re also going to take some time to evaluate you, in order to comprehend your abilities and shortcomings. That way, they can teach you strategies and techniques for accomplishing the tasks you have trouble with. Whether it’s general adjustment to getting around the house in the chair or learning how to transfer completely alone, they can help.


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