Occupational therapy combines the “therapeutic” use of occupations, self-service 
and play activities in order to increase independent functioning, to promote development and to prevent disabilities. Occupational therapy may also include the adjustment of an activity or the environment itself in order to succeed maximum independence and to promote the quality of life. (AOTA Executive board, 1976). 

Occupational therapy services are provided for the purpose of promoting health and wellness and to those who have or are at risk for developing an illness, injury, disease, disorder, condition, impairment, disability, activity limitation, or participation restriction. Occupational therapy addresses physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory, communication, and other areas of performance in various contexts and environments in everyday life activities that affect health, well-being, and quality of life. An occupational therapy practitioner uses current assessments and assessment procedures and follows defined protocols of standardized assessments during the screening, evaluation, and re-evaluation process. (O.T. Practice for Regulation for A.O.T.A.)

Occupational therapy is a prevention and rehabilitation specialty whose aim is to help individuals to complete important everyday activities regardless of their personal functional limitations.

 

The services provided by the occupational therapy practitioners are:

bullet black  To evaluate and intervene depending on the patient’s needs in co-operation with the family, the carer or others.
bullet black  To develop, improve, support and preserve the patient’s skills in everyday activities, at work or other productive activities,  during play or entertainment.
bullet black  To promote, develop and reestablish the motor/sensory, cognitive and psycho-social elements of the patient in their everyday activities.
bullet black  To “teach” the patient, their family, carer or other to perform the correct type of intervention depending on the circumstances.
bullet black  To cooperate with the rehabilitation team or other organizations in order to provide full scale patient rehabilitation practices. 

 
Who needs occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is suitable for those who are at risk from:

bullet black  Pervasive Developmental Disorders
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Cerebral palsy
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Cognitive deficiencies
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Psychosocial dysfunction
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Mental retardation
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Developmental or learning disabilities
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Behavioural disorders
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Other disorders


The types of intervention include:

bullet black Therapeutic use of occupations (functions) with sense, aims and goals
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Adjustment of the environmental elements in order to assist functional activation
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Escalation of goals and activities as the prerequisites for functional occupation
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Planning, construction, application or education in the use of supportive technology or orthotic equipments
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Application of natural intervention models as preparation tools for everyday functionality


Pediatric Occupational therapy
Petiatric occupational therapy is involved with and provides solutions to problems relating to the basic natural development areas.

Motor areas in children who:

bullet black  With motor development retardation
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Exhibit gross motor skill ineptitude
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Have balance problems and fall down frequently
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Are getting tired more easily and are less energetic than their peers
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Have bad body posture, lie down often or collapse in the chair
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Exhibit fine motor skill deficiency, find difficulty in handling small objects, hold a pen or use the scissors
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Exhibit difficulties in writing, letter formation or combining letters in words or phrases

Sensory areas in children who:

bullet black  Exhibit hypersensitivity to the touch, withdraw or react negatively when held or patted on the shoulder
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Avoid in an unusual way everyday grooming routines, such as combining their hair or brushing their teeth
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Avoid games that require high kinetic involvement, do not enjoy themselves in the playground and, possibly, are very much afraid of falling down
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Show hypersensitivity to noise or sounds

Behavioural areas in children who:

bullet black  Exhibit difficulties in developing self-service activities (e.g. eating, using the toilet, getting dressed, button up or tie their shoe laces)
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Exhibit feeding difficulties (they eat very little, have trouble chewing, get very dirty ςhile eating, exhibit difficulties in holding a glass or other feeding utensils)


Ways of intervention:

Based on the afore mentioned areas of natural development, prevention, intervention and rehabilitation addresses the following skills areas:


Gross coordination
i.e. optico-kinetic coordination, balance, orientation in space and coordination of both sides of the body (bilateral coordination).
The occupational therapy practitioner confronts difficulties such as:

bullet black  Ball activities teaching the children how to catch, throw or hit the ball
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Balance difficulties, teaching the children how to balance on one foot, walk on a balance beam and heel-toe walking.
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Walking or running ineptitudes
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Bilateral coordination such as walking over/by obstacles, turning or diagonal moving of the body.
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Rhythm, i.e. “dancing” or adaptation of kids songs


Fine motor skills
such as preschool writing, writing, using scissors, small object handling in construction games.
The occupational therapy practitioner addresses difficulties such in:

bullet black  Positioning, stabilizing and strengthening of the hand and fingers
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Pencil holding and control
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Wrist and forearm control
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Use of the fingers
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Copying
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Space and orientation organization
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Visual perception skills
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Speed and accuracy


Cognitive and perceptive skills,
 i.e. memory, attention and visual processing.
The occupational therapy practitioner addresses difficulties in:

bullet black  Visual discrimination (search for similarities and differences)
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Visual-spatial relations (recognition of object or symbol inversion)
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Visual memory, font perception and recognition of objects and fonts in pictures


Socialization
i.e. self-esteem, communication and interaction
The occupational therapy practitioner addresses difficulties in:

bullet black  Social play and the ability to share
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Developing an image of him/herself, self-esteem and body language
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Attention
bullet black  Auditory skills-memory, recognition, distinction
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Following orders and directions


Everyday life activities
, i.e. getting dressed, feeding, bath and body hygiene.
The occupational therapy practitioner addresses difficulties in:

bullet black  The orientation of clothes and shoes
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Left-right or front-back distinction
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The use of spoon and hand-mouth coordination and control
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Taking a bath by providing the parents with techniques
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Personal hygiene, i.e. use of the toilet, hair and tooth care

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