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reviewed 9/30/2018

Occupational therapy: True or false?

If you have an accident, illness or other health problem that makes everyday activities difficult, occupational therapists are here to help. Do you know all the ways these specialists can help you live independently?

True or false: Occupational therapy is only appropriate for people with severe, permanent disabilities.

False. This therapy can help people facing a wide range of health challenges. It can, for example, help people with wrist injuries return to their jobs and hobbies. It may help those with arthritis protect their joints by performing tasks differently. And it can help stroke survivors learn new ways to do daily tasks, like dressing and cooking.

True or false: Occupational therapy is most helpful for older adults.

False. Occupational therapists can help children with trouble concentrating succeed in school. They can help youngsters with autism learn to socialize. And they can help kids who use wheelchairs play with peers. They can even help babies and toddlers meet developmental milestones if they're at risk for delays.

True or false: Part of occupational therapists' expertise is helping patients use special equipment.

True. Occupational therapists may suggest adaptive devices—such as wheelchairs, leg braces or eating aids—to help people be more independent. They can also help people modify their homes or workplaces to accommodate their needs and restrictions.

True or false: Occupational therapists tailor their care plan to each person—and each person's own needs and preferences.

True. Occupational therapists help people meet goals that matter to them, whether that's driving, visiting friends or improving memory. They also work closely with family members to help them support these goals.

True or false: Occupational therapy is reserved for those with physical problems.

False. Occupational therapists also help people with a mental illness or emotional problems. They might help them manage activities that otherwise seem overwhelming, such as budgeting, using public transportation or keeping up with household chores.

Discover what other types of therapy might help you or a loved one live more fully when coping with an injury or illness.

Visit the rehabilitation health topic center

Sources: American Occupational Therapy Association; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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