I’ve never heard about OT for health promotion...
Updated: Nov 13
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Most families are surprised when they find out I am an OT. They are confused to learn that occupational therapists have a role in promoting health. Specifically, most parents say something like – “my son/daughter had OT in the past, but I’ve never heard about it for something like this…”
Occupational therapists are experts in evaluating lifestyles and determining what is supporting or hindering your health. Additionally, we are experts at breaking that down and figuring out how to decrease the barriers and build additional skills.
Although occupational therapists’ role in health promotion is relatively new, there are several occupational therapists offering these services on a regular basis. These are the therapists that initially inspired me to initiate a childhood obesity program at a local hospital before starting my own private practice.
Now, I am passionate about teaching families and other therapists that OTs do have a role in health promotion.
Now, this is highly dependent on the rules and scope for each state. In Florida, where I currently offer therapy services, OTs aims to:
“maximize the independence and the maintenance of health of any individual who is limited by a physical injury or illness, a cognitive impairment, a psychosocial dysfunction, a mental illness, a developmental or a learning disability, or an adverse environmental condition”
In other words, we clients who are LIMITED improve their control over their own health. If a client does not have a condition or limitation, it is considered wellness, not OT.
Some of the main conditions we see include: obesity, developmental coordination disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.
What kinds of things to we do at OT 4 ME to promote health?
We work with clients to do a deep evaluation of their lifestyle, roles, routines, and habits. This helps us determine what is promoting or hindering their health. We then work at decreasing the barriers, and coming up with solutions that work for EACH PERSON. Additionally, we work with clients on improving the skills they need to maintain their health. For example, we help children improve their strength, coordination, and balance so they can engage in sports with friends. Or, helping a client with an eating disorder on improving their coping skills.
How do we do it? We typically follow a 3 step progression.
1. We offer education: We provide our clients with the information they need to increase control over their own health. For example, education about the stress response, how to read a food label, or available local resources.
2. We create a plan: We work together with our clients to breakdown each of their goals and create a plan to achieving that goal. For example, how exactly to manage their stress in an unexpected situation.
Additionally, we create a secondary plan for what to do if their first plan doesn’t work. For example, if they planned to play outside for physical activity that day, but it rains, we plan a second activity they can do inside.
3. We practice: We practice skills in a natural setting. Using our telehealth (virtual) services, we are able to work with our clients in the areas where they would need those exact skills. By practicing these skills with clients, they get the opportunity to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and receive feedback.
Does this sound like something you might be interested? Schedule a free lifestyle consultation to talk about OT 4 ME’s approach to helping your child get kids moving.
Also, did you know we are hosting a FREE WEBINAR August 20 at 6pm EST? We will be discussing healthy at home habits for back-to-school. Sign up now to grab your spot!
If you are ready to get started right away, give us a call at 561-223-1602.
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Having a difficult time getting your child moving this summer? You can learn some easy tips and tricks by downloading our FREE “Strategies OTs Use to Get Kids Moving” E-book.
Let's make healthy fun,
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OT 4 ME
PO Box 273965
Boca Raton, FL 33427