What is it?
Occupational therapy helps people to improve their ability to perform normal activities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities in a culturally safe manner. OT can enable people to
- Take care of themselves and their loved ones
- Go to the bush, hunt, do arts and crafts, etc.
- Participate in daycare/school activities, manage work duties, or contribute to their community in different ways
- Play sports, pursue hobbies or spend time with friends and family.
Who is it for?
Occupational therapy is for people who cannot do what they would like or need to do because they are struggling with their physical abilities (through illness, injury, disability, etc) or their mental health (anxiety, depression, sleep loss, etc.).
Occupational therapists (OTs) work with people of all ages: newborns, children, youth, teenagers, adults and Elders. They work with individuals, families, communities and businesses.
Where is it offered?
The main Occupational Therapy office is usually at the community’s Multi-Service Day Centre (MSDC), but the occupational therapist can also see people at home, work, school or daycare.
What is it like?
The OT works along with the Rehabilitation Monitor (RM) or the Special Needs Educator (SNE). Depending on the case, the RM or the SNE may be present to support with the process.
If you agree and if it is appropriate, the OT can also involve the your caregivers, family members, school/daycare educator or anyone else supporting you in your daily life.
The stages of the OT’s approach include
- Understanding the situation as much as possible:
The OT will ask you about how you manage throughout your day and how you do your activities (taking care of self and others, traditional activities, daycare/school/work, leisure/social activities).
The OT may ask you to show how you do certain tasks in order to understand what is easy and what is challenging.
- Setting goals and priorities:
The OT will review the results with you and, if necessary, your caregivers.
Together, you, the OT and, if necessary, your caregivers will decide on what to work on in therapy, according to your goals and priorities.
- Developing and providing treatment:
The OT, along with the RM or the SNE, may give recommendations or provide interventions, which include:
Adapting your environment (i.e.: your home, workspace, etc.)
Adapting how an activity is done,
Providing equipment to assist you in your activities,
Practicing new skills to improve your ability to do certain tasks through an activity program
The priority of the OT is for you to feel heard, safe and respected. Their main goal is to work with you to answer your needs according to your priorities.
How long does it last?
An OT session usually lasts thirty minutes to an hour.
The number of sessions will vary, depending on your goals and challenges. For some people, one or two sessions will be enough to give recommendations that they will apply by themselves. Other people may require a few weeks until they have reached their goals. In more complex cases, sessions can extend over a few months or even to a year.
How can I get this service?
Talk to a nurse or doctor from the CMC to see if Occupational Therapy can help you. If so, they will refer you to receive this service.
In addition, the Occupational Therapist may organize community events, such as workshops, presentation or trainings that address your general concerns. Watch for announcements of these in your local media.