Specialties in Occupational Therapy Help Patients Overcome Daily Challenges

Man Driving CarBy Tammy Vig, OTD, OTR/L, CLT, Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent – or live better with – an injury, illness, or disability. Occupational therapy involves more than what you may think including many specialty services.

Did you know that occupational therapists provide services for patients with post-concussion syndrome? These patients often experience difficulty transitioning back to activities such as work, school, and play. Patients who experience post-concussive symptoms include pediatric patients and most often sustained their concussions as a result of a sports injury, car accident, blast injury, or a fall.

Occupational therapists are trained to analyze the individual’s activities and identify what is limiting them from full participation in everyday activities (occupations). Patients assessed with post-concussive symptoms are guided through treatments for vision and visual-perceptual deficits, cognitive and sensory processing skills, and the ability to complete activities related to self-care, work, school, leisure, and play. Goals are developed as the therapist and patient work to improve function in all areas needed with the ultimate goal of being able to complete all their desired tasks again.

Driving a car provides independence and freedom, yet it also requires the use of multiple skills. Post-concussive symptoms, or another issue, may be limiting people from this privilege. A new service offered by occupational therapists is the OT-DORA, or Occupational Therapy Driver Off-Road Assessment Battery. This is a collection of assessments that identify strengths and weaknesses, and pinpoints areas for the occupational therapist to focus the rehabilitation before the person can graduate to the on-road test.

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities. Pediatric services are also offered from birth on up to treat a wide variety of diagnoses such as autism, developmental delays, strength and fine motor deficits, and sensory or behavioral issues.

The occupational therapy staff at Glacial Ridge Health System includes four occupational therapists and two certified occupational therapy assistants. Call 320.634.2015 with any questions you have or to schedule an evaluation.