Occupational therapy interventions are used across a lifespan to assist individuals in achieving their wants and needs by participating in daily tasks that foster independence.
Common occupational therapy interventions include occupational therapists and assistants working with individuals in a variety of ways such as; helping children with disabilities participate in school and alternative settings, helping injured individuals recover and regain skills and helping older adults through cognitive and physical changes.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic approach in which environments are adapted to allow for success and services are identified through individualized evaluation to determine the individual’s goals, customized intervention plans to reach those goals, and outcomes evaluations to maintain those goals. Comprehensive evaluations may be included as well as recommendations for adaptive equipment and training, and family/caregiver guidance and education.
The American Occupational Therapy Association supports a wide range of interventions and approaches used within occupational therapy practices including sensory integration therapy (SIT).
Sensory integration therapy (SIT) is a neuroscience-based approach researched and developed by A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR/L. This type of therapy is used to address sensory integration and sensory modulation concerns found across lifespans.
By understanding that an individual’s sensory system contributes to appropriate outcomes in the areas of self care, communication, physical and motor, social-emotional, cognitive, and the development and maintenance of adaptive skills; a well-regulated, appropriate functioning sensory system is crucial to optimize occupational performance and participation. Deficits in the area of sensory integration and modulation can impact daily living skills as well as learning, socializing, playing, working, appropriate behavior and overall development. Occupational therapists and assistants are able to address sensory processing dysfunction to avoid consequences such as; poor work performance, decreased general functional abilities and impacted relationships that without intervention may be a potential result.
Core values of occupational therapy include
- Promote occupation performance
- Maximize participation in daily living activities
- Identify and modify barriers that limit performance and participation
- Identify and provide appropriate sensory and motor strategies and interventions
- Teach and model activities that promote sensory and motor development
- Raise self awareness to counter sensory processing challenges