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In this paper I conducted
research on the different roles of Occupational Therapy. During the research I chose
to compare and contrast what these roles play a part in therapy. There are many
similarities and differences in the roles that take place while treating a
child with Autism, mental health recovery, stroke rehabilitation, and breast
cancer rehabilitation. The fact sheets vary in approaches from one extreme to
the next. From the role of Occupational Therapy for anyone with Autism includes
more approaches of play therapy. Whereas approaches for breast cancer
rehabilitation include things like strengthening their muscles so that they can
do every day basic tasks for themselves. 
These are both very different ways to go about Occupational Therapy to
cater to your patient’s needs. Therefore, the role of Occupational Therapy
differs because you will always get different results for each individual
treatment. The roles of Occupational Therapy will always be different for each
individual patient, as well as each different treatment from session to session
so that the patient can receive the best outcome to help them in everyday life.

Keywords:
needs,
rehabilitation, recovery, roles

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The roles of Occupational
Therapy influence the way each patient heals and recovers. Occupational therapy
practitioners use techniques that assist the patient’s as they go about
everyday life. These activities range from purposeful activities,
occupation-centered activities, preparatory activities, and contrived
activities. Each and every activity is individualized for each client and
patient. The occupational therapy practitioner will then use the information
given from the patient or guardian to adjust their activities and occupations
to help the client learn or relearn these concepts. These will eventually
become less difficult for the clients when they are practicing these ideas on
different manipulatives to then eventually move on to a “normal setting” in
their lives.

The primary goal of
mental health recovery is not to manage symptoms, but rather to facilitate
resiliency, health, and wellness in an individual’s community. The AOTA Fact
sheet on Mental Health Recovery states that, “SAMHSA (2012) identified 10
principles including hope, person-driven, many pathways, holistic, peer
support, relational, culture, address trauma, strengths/responsibility, and
respect. These fundamental recovery principles are in full alignment with the
philosophy of occupational therapy.” Mental health recovery can be throughout
many settings. These may include long term-facilities, hospitals, residential
programs, and many more. Patients who are receiving mental health recovery
services may grasp on to coping strategies for their health, budgeting,
purchases, controlling their symptoms, and their values vs. their goals.

“Stroke is a leading
cause of adult disability in the United States, with an estimated 7 million
stroke survivors. Each year, approximately 795,000 people have either a new or
recurrent stroke (Nilsen, 2015).” Oftentimes, stroke patients exhibit deficits
in their cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning which can then lead to
further deficits in areas such as daily activities, school, parenting or
leisure. For stroke patients, their therapy can include more accommodations to
make it as easy as possible for the patient to be mobile whether that is on
their feet, or in a wheelchair. While some patients may still have to relearn
activities that they were able to do before their stroke such as relearning
activities that are functionable such as using a fork, or preparing a meal. The
setting for Rehabilitation can be in places such as a nursing home,
rehabilitation home, or even in the patient’s atmosphere that they are used to
in their home.

“Autism is a
developmental disorder- typically diagnosed around age 3 years- that affects
brain functions, specifically those areas that control social behaviors and
communication skills (Scott, 2011).” This disability is seen starting out in
preschool, and kindergarten where services are then offered in school systems,
hospitals, clinics, and plenty more. When it comes to Autism, occupational
therapy practitioners work on things with the patients within a variety of ages
like learning to adapt to the environment around them, transitioning from place
to place, and working on things also like sensory, and basic skills such as
taking a shower. Occupational therapy practitioners will help the patient engage
in activities that they usually come about on a typical day. These can include
going to school, going to work, hanging out with friends. This allows the
practitioner to help the patient with social cues and transitioning.

“Breast cancer diagnosis
and treatment can impose multiple degrees of physical and psychological strain
on an individual. The physical, emotional, and cognitive implications
associated with chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery can result in decreased
ability to engage in meaningful occupations, including maintaining one’s home,
returning to work, and performing prior social roles and responsibilities
adequately (Deluliis, 2012).” Breast cancer diagnosis effects how the patient
goes about his/her everyday life. This is when the occupational therapy
practitioner steps in to allow the patient to learn things like preventing
their condition from worsening, learning different ways to strengthen their
muscles as they are very weak at this time. This rehabilitation process can be
seen in places such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and hospice care
units where it allows them to learn these occupations to help them manage their
life at the best of their abilities.

Rehabilitation and
recovery seem to sound the same and be the same, but they are not. Though
occupational therapy offers assistance, rehabilitation offers assistance from
more than just the occupational therapy practitioner where they are able to be
in a possible home or facility that offers them assistance as well. Recovery is
more so focusing on the process of what it takes to overcome the possible
battle of the patient’s condition. Rehabilitation may also start treatment at
home, and move to a facility for more assistance until the patient feels more
comfortable. Breast cancer rehabilitation and stroke rehabilitation both offer
very similar therapeutic mechanisms. Both of them focus on a variety of ways to
cope with their conditions as well as strengthening their muscles as they are
very weak due to their conditions that the patient is in. Mental health
recovery focuses on more personal goals and awareness of resources.
Occupational therapy practitioners for people with autism focus on the concepts
of social norms, social environment, interactions, and learning to take care of
themselves. While these four topics and their roles with occupational therapy
are different, they all come down to the same thing. That is learning or
relearning meaningful activities of one’s daily life. These activities seem to be
little but when someone such as a stroke patient having to relearn how to use a
fork, it becomes very difficult and frustrating for the patient. This is also where
the occupational therapy practitioner steps in to assist with the ability to help
the patient’s mindset while learning and relearning these “basic” activities in
life to help them to be able to function in everyday activities. 

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