Many think occupational therapy only treats the wounded or elderly, when in fact occupational therapy treats people of all ages and from all walks of life. These three creative occupational therapy activity ideas should give you a sense of how vast the opportunities are with this health care career.
Occupational therapy assistants have the opportunity to work with babies, the elderly, grade school kids, inmates, the mentally disabled, and more. With occupational therapy, you can find your fit and work in a place that provides care for people you really care about.
3 Unique Occupational Therapy Activities
Those working in the occupational therapy field are encouraged to experiment and try new ways of providing outstanding treatments for clients.
Recently, occupational therapists around the world have been making the news for the innovative occupational therapy activity ideas and various ways that they’re treating people.
Using Singing for Breathing Complications
Could singing in the shower or in your car actually be good for you? For those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the answer is yes!
Occupational therapy students in England were interested in how singing could help those with COPD, so they decided to get creative. The students held a ‘Singing for COPD’ session, in which attendees participated in breathing exercises, vocal warm ups, and singing.
The occupational students found that singing was good for COPD sufferers and helped improve their overall well-being.
Using Eating for Sensory Disorders
For some children, eating can be a battle. But for those with a sensory disorder, it can be terrifying.
Food therapy helps clients complete a fundamental task – eating. Occupational therapists and OTAs might encourage children with sensory issues to play with their food, like squishing a blueberry or smearing applesauce.
Before beginning food therapy with an occupational therapist, four-year-old Chase would only eat Goldfish, whole wheat pumpkin muffins from Wegmans, spicy Doritos, and fries, but only from Wendy’s. Chase avoided the family dinner table as well; the sights and sounds of eating would create anxiety for him.
After beginning food therapy with an OT, Chase now sits at the family dinner table and is expanding his palate.
Using Play for Motor Functions
Play is a fundamental part of occupational therapy and is one of the very first methods used to treat people. Today, play is used to treat clients of all ages.
Occupational therapists can get creative when using play in therapy with children who are autistic or have sensory issues. The goal of using play is to help children improve their motor functions and social skills and become more comfortable with others.
Using play as an occupational therapy treatment recently reached the national stage when eight-year-old Zion became the first child to ever get a double hand transplant. After losing his arms and legs to a life-threatening infection at two, Zion received his new hands in July 2015.
Since his surgery, Zion has been working with an occupational therapist to learn how to use his new hands. His occupational therapist is utilizing play in creative and unique ways to help Zion become comfortable using his hands.
“He was playing with his action figures and baking cookies with a whisk, doing all sorts of things with his hands we never dreamed he would be able to do within a few weeks of surgery.”
Occupational therapy is a field where occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are given the freedom to customize treatment plans and are allowed to get creative with the best method to treat a client.
If you enjoy being creative and have a desire to help people live life to the fullest, consider a career as an occupational therapy assistant. Speak to an advisor today about enrolling in St. Catherine’s online OTA program and starting your health care career.