A new educational video highlighting the work of occupational therapists has been released by National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) allied health provider LiveBig to celebrate National Occupational Therapy (OT) Week this week.
The new video is particularly relevant for individuals on a NDIS plan, as well as their parents, carers and support coordinators.
LiveBig General Manager Lyudmyla Dendtler says OTs do important work with clients who have physical, mental or developmental disabilities to develop skills that will improve their quality of life and live more independently.
“We felt it was important to develop this new video to clearly explain the role OTs play in working with people to achieve their goals through things such as daily living skills, home modifications, play and sensory processing,” she says.
LiveBig occupational therapist Jessica Suh says she loves that OT is person-centred and holistic.
“People are complex beings, influenced by nature, nurture and the physical environment around them and the beauty of the profession is that we’re trained to respect and consider all of these elements that might change the way an individual engages with an activity,” she says.
‘Occupations’ refer to activities that bring meaning and purpose to life, including things people need to do, want to do, and are expected to do. For example, catching public transport, grocery shopping, getting out of bed, or eating a meal.
OTs help to prioritise meaningful activities and work with their clients to achieve certain goals. Sometimes this might also mean working with the people around an individual including their families, other therapists or support workers.
“As an example, there are components of a home that may totally change the way a person interacts with a task or environment,” says Ms Suh.
“If we consider how many times we go in and out of our bedroom, that’s exactly the number of times somebody in a wheelchair might have to struggle to get into their room. This might mean doing five turns, bumping and scratching the walls and frames, finally getting in, then having to do it all again.”
Ms Shu says an OT would consider the options available to improve this situation, asking if there is an alternative way to access the same bedroom, or if it is possible to switch rooms.
“We’d assess if it was the best wheelchair for the individual or if it is best to modify the home in some way. Even the type of door or handle can drastically change the level of participation, independence and overall quality of life for an individual living with a disability,” she says.
Running from October 26 - November 1, OT Week coincides with World Occupational Therapy Day on 27 October, and promotes the many ways occupational therapists help all people to reach their potential.
This year’s theme is Resilience: Supporting our communities to rebuild, recover, and re engage.
LiveBig Chief Executive Officer Marcella Romero is a former OT and understands the challenges that this year would have brought to many.
“This year, individuals and families have had to learn to embrace change, particularly those living with disability, such as accessing different services or switching to therapeutic activities at home through telehealth,” she says.
“LiveBig occupational therapists are on hand to help where they are needed and we hope this new video can provide some important information for those seeking assistance.”
You can view the occupational therapy video here.