What Is Occupational Therapy?

When you’re unable to perform regular activities due to an illness or injury, or in case of disability, occupational therapy can work wonders on helping you adapt to the situation. Essentially, occupational therapy or OT helps you perform tasks, either at work, school, or your home, with the help of tools or assistive devices.

The job of the health professionals, known as occupational therapists, is to come up with different ways to help you adapt. They guide you through the process of taking care of yourself and your home and other activities. Person you can achieve simple things like eating without help, doing office work, bathing, and getting dressed or taking part in leisure activities with occupational therapy.

It will help you overcome your struggles and function like any other person of same age without compromising on the things you love to do. So, before we delve deeper into the subject, you should remember that every day can pose varied challenges. However, using occupational therapy to beat the odds can help you in the long run.

In this article, you will understand the concept in detail along with its importance and whom to reach out to when you need help. Let’s take a look!

History Of Occupational Therapy

When you think of therapy, you generally associate it with medicinal treatment. But, the roots of occupational therapy lie in the holistic method of healing, with a focus on leisure and productivity that came with the Arts & Craft movement.

Before the name came into existence, occupational therapy was a way to get patients involved in the treatment process by understanding their problems and helping them adapt to the new way of life. In the 1930s, there were several programs set up that included vocational training, industrial therapy, and clinical workshops to assist newly discharged patients in readjusting and coping with work. Since then, technology has taken over the reins. The development of speech recognition software, adaptive equipment, computer software programs, wheelchairs, and electronic environmental controls have assisted in the facilitation of occupational therapy. Today, OT can help people of all ages and across professions to deal with everyday activities.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

Your struggle to perform daily tasks is where the job of the occupational therapist begins. Whether it’s infants or the elderly, OTs help you regain skills and develop new ones and also help you adapt to the new environment to make it work for you.

In the process, you tend to learn new ways of doing the same old chores, and with the use of equipment or tools, they tend to make your job a lot simpler as well. The primary focus of OTs is to help you carry out several daily activities safely and effectively.

Here are some more ways occupational therapists help:

  • They work with kids and teachers to help children develop skills such as handwriting or using a computer to help them learn better and thrive in the school environment.
  • They work with patients admitted to the hospital following a stroke or brain injury to assess and treat cognitive impairment. It helps them recover better and manage their condition-related issues.
  • They work with people in outpatient facilities suffering from mental illness to manage and live with their condition to help them live independently at home in their community.
  • They work with patients following a workplace or motor vehicle injury to determine their future needs and ably perform their daily activities.

They work with people who have experienced a change in their physical or mental abilities to return to their routine.

Types Of Occupational Therapies

1. Pediatric Occupational Therapy
The thought of why children need OT might have crossed your mind. However, you should know that OT can prove to be beneficial for children as young as two years old, especially if they’ve experienced conditions like ADHD, development disability, injury, abuse, mental disorders, or learning disabilities.

2. Geriatric OT
If you’re unable to perform usual daily activities like bathing, chewing, swallowing, bladder control, getting in and out of bed, among others, then with the help of occupational therapy, you can relearn these skills and go through your everyday life with ease.

3. OT for Autism
If someone you know has autism, occupational therapy will help them work on their social and communication skills and overcome their difficulties.

4. OT for Physical Rehabilitation
If you find yourself injured or rendered disabled due to an accident, occupational therapists who work with the physical rehabilitation of patients can help you. It works by combining both the physical and mental aspects of your life and helping you adapt and recover from your current situation.

5. OT for Mental Health
If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks or know someone who does, occupational therapy can help with self-care measures or prevent relapse of symptoms associated with mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, or even schizophrenia.

6. OT for Basic Survival Needs
Whether you’ve suffered an injury or illness, or due to age, your basic survival needs, like swallowing and eating, can get hard to perform. Occupational therapy helps refurbish these skills and improve your daily life.

Importance Of Occupational Therapy

The benefits that come with occupational therapy add to its importance. The main objective of OT is to help people with physical, developmental, and emotional disabilities to lead independent and productive lives, thus improving their quality of life.

After understanding how OT works, here are a few pointers that will help you grasp importance of the occupational therapy.

  • Occupational therapy emphasizes the evaluation and treatment of functional limitations caused by accident or injury, illnesses, birth deficiency, developmental disabilities, or any other health-related conditions.
  • It addresses the unique needs of the patient and his family members through treatment, training, and education.
  • It focuses on improving daily living with help on basic tasks, like getting dressed and returning to work.
  • It is often combined with other forms of therapy to help you make the best possible recovery after being discharged from care.

Above all, occupational therapy doesn’t only try helping patients with their jobs but with any task that’s part of their daily living.

Occupational Therapy Goals And Objectives

The primary goal of occupational therapy is to help you adapt to changing circumstances and recover better. Keeping this in mind, your OTs will design a therapy plan and set realistic targets depending on your needs and limits. Essentially, you will find occupational therapy to help you with:

  • The use of assistive devices like raised toilet seats or wheelchairs.
  • Learn new ways to perform daily tasks like buttoning up a shirt, tying your shoelaces, or working on your computer.
  • Improving balance if you’ve had a stroke, build muscle strength, or adapt to memory or speech problems.
  • Organizing your medications or tools.
  • Addressing behavior problems in kids who act out.
  • Building hand-eye coordination.
  • Working on motor skills so you can grasp a pen or pencil.

Who Might Need Occupational Therapy?

Anybody who needs help in performing daily tasks might benefit from occupational therapy. Since OT gets prescribed based on the difficulty in getting things done in several areas of life, the need for it arises accordingly. Moreover, with OT helping patients of all ages and circumstances, you will find different treatment methods for both children and adults.

Occupational Therapy For Children
Children can benefit from occupational therapy if they’ve experienced or gone through either of the following conditions:

  • Birth deficiencies
  • ADHD
  • Juvenile arthritis
  • Autism
  • Injuries or burns

Related Blog: How to Know If A Child Needs Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy for Adults
Over the years, many adults may encounter different health problems or could get involved in an accident, which may hamper the physical or mental functioning of one’s body. But, with occupational therapy, you will find yourself in a better state if you choose to opt for it, given that you’ve experienced either of the following conditions:

  • Arthritis and chronic pain
  • Brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Joint replacement
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Poor balance
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Mental health or behavioral issues

How To Find An Occupational Therapist?

In most cases, you will find an occupational therapist to work out of a hospital. However, depending on your condition and how it affects your mobility, OTs can help you recover and adapt to the new environment by providing assistance at any of the following places:

  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Schools (for kids and parents)
  • Private offices
  • Corporate offices
  • Industrial workplaces

If you know a professional who can help arrange sessions for you or know someone who does, you can reach out to them and seek help.

Is Occupational Therapy Worth It?

Issues with mobility and speech or any other health condition can hamper your daily life. When you opt for occupational therapy, you can both prevent and seek treatment for these problems apart from medicinal care. In extreme cases, OT can help you live with your condition and not let it affect the functioning of any part of your everyday life.

So, yes, the benefits offered by occupational therapy make it worth it and help you cope with your struggles and overcome them to achieve independence.

Examples Of Occupational Therapy Activities

The purpose of occupational therapy is to identify your strengths and weaknesses and work on both to help you gain independence. In the case of children, OTs work on improving their strength, coordination, focus, sensory reactions, and organizational skills.

In the broader spectrum, occupational therapy includes fine motor activities, gross motor activities, hand-eye coordination activities, visual perception activities, handwriting activities, and many more. Full-body exercises, yoga, multisensory techniques, and many other such methods will help your child gain the confidence and independence they need to function in the regular world.

Occupational Therapy Vs. Physiotherapy

While the similarities between occupational therapy and physiotherapy are plenty, you need to consider the distinguishing characteristics as well. When it comes to the end goal, which is to ensure that you’re able to perform daily functions properly, they share that in common. However, the differences, although subtle, are in the approach towards the end goal.

In the case of physical therapy or physiotherapy, the aim is to strengthen the muscles. On the other hand, occupational therapy helps you to take care of yourself independently, whether it’s physically, mentally, or socially.

But, the importance of physical therapy may not get lost on the professionals that work as OTs. You can perform daily tasks effectively when your muscles work in tandem. So, many a time, both these therapies are used simultaneously during rehabilitation to treat the same person.

How To Choose Between Occupational And Physical Therapy?

You can begin by understanding the problem area and thereby adopting the treatment approach. As mentioned earlier, while you may find many similarities between OT and PT, the treatment approach is where the differences lie.

If you choose to opt for physical therapy, you will get help with the following:

  • Pain
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Joint range of motion
  • Gross motor skills

However, when it comes to occupational therapy, the help you receive will benefit you in the following ways:

  • Improvement in fine motor skills (small-muscle movements)
  • Improvement in sensory-processing problems
  • Improvement in visual-perceptual skills

Improvement in cognitive (thinking) skills


For some of you, the concept of occupational therapy may not seem plausible. However, you should consider its benefits and seek professional assistance and guidance on the topic if you seem unsure about the approach.

OT attempts to help you live your life in the best possible manner, without any limitations, and perform all the necessary tasks without outside help. As you must have read before in this article, the need for OT arises due to several reasons, which include physical impairment, mental disorders, developmental problems, or emotional issues. Either of these difficulties can get solved with the help of OT if you seek the right assistance.

After all, everyone, including children, loves their independence. When that gets snatched away, the need to get back on their feet becomes a top priority. So, if you can do that for someone or yourself, it will help you recover and adapt better.

Get Occupation Therapists At Home In Dubai

If you’re in Dubai and seeking out occupational therapists in the city, you can reach out to Aims Healthcare. We cater to a diverse range of medical assistance in the comfort of your home. Our qualified and certified medical professionals ensure that your recovery and health are the top priority. Therefore, if you wish to avail of the occupational therapy services at Home in Dubai, and other medical assistance of Aims Healthcare, get in touch at +971 505 136 505 or fill this form and one of our dedicated team members will contact you at the earliest.

Aims Healthcare

Aims Healthcare intertwines superior medical practices with accessibility of highly qualified medical professionals to yield exceptional patient care and clinical outcomes. We take medical care one step further by providing first-rate home healthcare and doctor-on-call services at your doorstep. We are available any time of day for you and every member of your family.