April 22, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
What is an occupational therapist? Based on mere language alone, it probably sounds like someone that helps a person perform their job. And that’s not incorrect – there’s just a little more to it than that.
An occupational therapist actually assists you with many facets of your daily life. Think of an occupational therapist as your own version of the “easy button,” as you see in those silly Staples commercials. Whatever task you want to accomplish in your daily life, an occupational therapist will help you find an easier way to do it. Note that I didn’t say simply easy; they’re not miracle workers. But they will certainly make your life more manageable and help you to accomplish a lot more.
How can they do all that? Here are three examples of what an occupational therapist can do for someone with a spinal cord injury (SCI):
Teach you safety tips and tricks
One of the primary keys to living in a wheelchair is to avoid danger and possible injury. When you’re disabled, you can put yourself in dangerous situations pretty easily – something as simple as transferring can end up with you on the floor, feeling helpless. But an occupational therapist will be able to teach you safe methods of handling your daily activities, including transferring. They’ll also give you safety tips, such as how to fall correctly (yes, there is a smart way to fall out of a wheelchair).
Show you how to complete chores/activities more easily
Occupational therapists have been extensively trained (they usually have an advanced graduate degree) and work with various different patients, so they’re familiar with the difficulties of wheelchair life. That’s why they’ll be able to show you how to complete certain tasks more easily and quickly, based upon your own specific disability.
Recommend environmental changes and adaptations
Another benefit of occupational therapy is the opportunity to have your home and work evaluated. An occupational therapist will go through the area and look for possible problem spots, as well as foresee difficulties you may encounter. But aside from merely pointing them out, the therapist can provide recommendations to make the environment more appropriate. Additionally, if you need some kind of extra equipment, or the therapist believes you would benefit from one, they can order it and help you utilize it afterward.