What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) helps you live your best life at home, at work – and everywhere else. It’s about being able to do the things you want and have to do. That could mean helping you overcome challenges learning at school, going to work, playing sport or simply doing the dishes. Everything is focused on your wellbeing and your ability to participate in activities.
It’s also a science-based, health and social care profession that’s regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.
Occupational therapists see beyond diagnoses and limitations to hopes and aspirations. They look at relationships between the activities you do every day – your occupations – alongside the challenges you face and your environment.
Then, they create a plan of goals and adjustments targeted at achieving a specific set of activities. The plan is practical, realistic and personal to you as an individual, to help you achieve the breakthroughs you need to elevate your everyday life.
This support can give people a renewed sense of purpose. It can also open up new opportunities and change the way people feel about the future. (Royal College of Occupational Therapists)
These values include client-centeredness, use of evidence, cultural competence and occupation-based practices. All of these values embody the fundamental principles of occupational therapy practice (Law, 2004).
At Co-ordin8 we put these things into practice by firstly removing the ‘glass ceiling’ as we believe nothing is impossible and everything has a solution! Within any solution students also the choice not to do an activity if by working together the individual student or group of students feel that the activity is unsafe or unrealistic or to come up with a plan of their own on how to achieve the goal.
We practice, promote and encourage choice making daily, and individual students have their very own individual goals. Each term groups get together to plan their activities for the months ahead and within that the group tutor will help individuals to maximise their potential.
Art – We are working towards an art exhibition in about 6 months time, so the Tutors’ aim is to find works that can be exhibited.
Student A has an aim to produce some artwork that both he and his family will be proud of, but he either a) rushes into things without first planning, b) quickly gets disappointed by his effort, or c) does not maintain focus and observe properly the object of his study and quickly reverts to what he know. This is not unusual among the student group.
Recently the students had an 8 week programme set specifically to look at Lowry’s paintings. This included identifying that there is a horizon in every scene, that the sky meets the earth, that houses are bigger than people, that trees can be both tall and short, that there are correct proportions to everything and that to confuse us all, things that are nearer are larger than those further away.
The Tutor’s task based on the OT principles mentioned above were to:
- To maintain individuality:
- For students to see and recognise progression;
- To experience that collaboration is key;
- To produce a final piece that the individual can be proud of;
- To promote that everything has value and again in the individual right to expression, as here where one student decided her picture was better without people or buildings.
Whether or not student A triumphs in his art, the tutor role is to support the transference of the skills being learnt into other areas of his daily life. He has shown this by observing his peers and recognising the needs of others, developing his listening to appreciate others values and opinions and being more realistic about his own goals.
Finally to echo the statement from the College of Occupational Therapy we aim for all our students to feel valued, safe, to have achieved something towards their hopes and aspirations and have an enjoyable time within the learning environment and as a result to live their best life everywhere.