What is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?
Occupational therapy focuses mostly on building up strength and endurance of the upper body while physical therapists work on building strength and endurance of the lower body. Occupational therapists also work on fine motor coordination, memory, concentration and fatigue management/energy conservation. Our profession helps to prioritize what is most important to the individual and blending that with what the individual needs to be able to do to care for themselves.
For example, if someone is really passionate about being able to cook their own meals and struggling with endurance and hand strength we would look for ways to increase endurance and modify approaches to chopping and stirring.
Additionally, we help people with the activities we all have to do to take care of ourselves. Examples of these activities could be toileting, bathing, dressing and eating. For these activities, it may include modifying the task, using adaptive equipment to be more independent or safe, building strength and increasing endurance.
What does a typical assessment include?
The assessment is very dependent on the developmental age of the person and what we would expect them to be able to do with their underlying condition. So our assessment for a six year old would look very different for a six year old, to a 35 year old, to a 95 year old.
In general an assessment will look at the person’s ability to independently perform activities of their daily life. This could include:
- Eating and drinking
- Climbing stairs
- Doing laundry
- Running errands
- Preparing meals
- Taking care of children or other loved ones
- Performing work responsibilities (physical and cognitive functions)