Occupational Therapy and how it’s changing lives
4 November 2019
What is it?
Occupational therapy provides practical support, enabling people to overcome barriers that stop them from doing activities that are important to them, with the aim of increasing their independence and quality of life.
How do we do it at WESC Foundation?
Occupational therapy includes of a wide range of activities, all designed to help our young people improve their independence and quality of life. At WESC Foundation occupational therapy is based around the needs of each young person and their individual aims and goals.
Basic activities for daily living
Some of the most important activities revolve around daily living such as personal hygiene, eating/swallowing and functional mobility, as well as domestic living such as managing finances, preparing meals and shopping. These activities are particularly important at WESC Foundation as many of our young people have complex learning and physical needs in additional to their visual impairment and these activities are crucial in enabling them to live as independent lives as possible.
The focus with all of the activities is to enable the young people to do what they need and want to do as independently as possible. At WESC Foundation we work on independence skills in the home, such as housework, laundry, and preparing and cooking simple meals and snacks. We may use adaptive techniques and equipment such as a vegetable chopper instead of a sharp knife, a hot water dispenser to reduce the risk of hot water scalds when pouring from a kettle, or a talking microwave instead of an electric hob or oven. We work with the individual to find what works best for them, taking particular consideration of their visual impairment.
A talking microwave used to help young people safely prepare food and a Liquid Level Indicator used to help young people safely pour liquids
Not just practical skills
As well practical skills, our occupational therapists also encourage our young people in more fun and social activities, which, by their very nature they may have had limited opportunities to engage in previously. In addition to being extremely beneficial to their emotional and mental wellbeing, play and fun activities are often geared towards the young people at a developmental level. Simple games such as rolling a ball from side to side can positively impact their coordination and functional skills which may enable them to develop daily life skills such as the use of cutlery.
A team effort
At WESC Foundation we work in a truly multi-disciplinary way. Our occupational therapists run sessions alongside other departments, such as Speech and Language Therapy, to encourage social participation and ensure that the young people are receiving cohesive and well-rounded care. For example, introducing hoisting in a fun and enjoyable way as part of a hydro-therapy session can allow a young person to get used to hoisting which they may need to use in other aspects of their daily lives.
Our occupational therapy team at WESC Foundation help to massively improve the quality of life for our young people. Thanks to them many of our young people have been able to gain the confidence to achieve new skills such as cooking their own meals, budgeting, and even joining a community dance class!
Our occupational therapy team