Sanchez: Gadgets and occupational therapy

Nature Speaks

OCCUPATIONAL therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in gadgets.

At my age and my health situation, where would I be without my gadgets?

At the hospital when I was bedridden, I had with me my smartphone and its charger where I can use to communicate to the world via Facebook and Messenger. It was hard to hit the keypads. Words came out differently. Thoughts were gibberish. But I used copy and paste, and predictive spelling for getting correct spelling.

Although I was stricken with a cerebellar stroke, I had to fight it by keeping my brain active. As they say, fight fire with fire. The same with my muscles, I use my dumbbells that I bought to fight my paralysis during my second stroke and now reinforced by my physical and occupational therapies.

Occupational therapy is a profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations) such as writing. Thus this column.

Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.

I sit and stand, catch a small ball, walk, and switch the TV on. I googled these therapies. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping people with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills. For older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes, occupational therapy services typically include:

1. An individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,

2. Customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and

3. Outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

To be sure, it’s no easy deal for me. Even writing this column is like fighting a heavyweight foe. And I’m a lightweight.

That I can write at all is a huge blessing for me. I can thank my ally gadgets that include a wheelchair and a walker.


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