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2010-04-08 digital edition

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2010-04-08 / Community News

Occupational Therapy Helps Individuals Live Life To Its Fullest

Lexington’s Elementary School hosted a Family Dance Night recently and many students, along with their families and friends, attended the event that was promoted to help encourage everyone to get up and get moving, for health’s sake. Here’s a snapshot of everyone enjoying a group dance. PHOTO BY LEIGH KOLACEK. Lexington’s Elementary School hosted a Family Dance Night recently and many students, along with their families and friends, attended the event that was promoted to help encourage everyone to get up and get moving, for health’s sake. Here’s a snapshot of everyone enjoying a group dance. PHOTO BY LEIGH KOLACEK. Occupational therapy enables people of all ages live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. It is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and “best practices” that have been developed and proven over time.

“Every day working as an occupational therapist, I get to make a difference in someone’s life,” says Mona Butala, Director of Occupational Therapy at Little River Medical Center in Rockdale. “Whether the person has managed to dress themselves after a devastating stroke and can now return home or something as simple as holding a pen pain free in a hand compromised by arthritis, I can see I made a difference.”

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on “doing” whatever occupations or activities are meaningful to the individual. It is occupational therapy’s purpose to get beyond problems to the solutions that assure living life to its fullest. These solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.

When working with an occupational therapy practitioner, strategies and modifications are customized for each individual to resolve problems, improve function, and support everyday living activities. The goal is to maximize potential. Through these therapeutic approaches, occupational therapy helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments (e,g., home, school, or work) and build health-promoting habits and routines that will allow them to thrive.

By taking the full picture into account—a person’s psychological, physical, emotional, and social makeup as well as their environment— occupational therapy assists clients to do the following: Achieve goals; Function at the highest possible level; Concentrate on what matters most to them; Maintain or rebuild their independence; and Participate in daily activities that they need or want to do.

Founded in 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA’s major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential. For more information, go to www.aota.org.

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