Your spinal cord injury (SCI) was, and will be, a life-changing event that will impact multiple areas of your day-to-day life. In order to learn how to continue to live a fulfilled and healthy life, you will likely work with an occupational therapist (OT).
OTs focus on an individual’s physical, psychosocial, occupational, and contextual factors, which may impact areas of their life and their ability to carry out their tasks of daily living. OTs are skilled at adapting tasks to help individuals develop the skills to maximize their function, activity and participation in their home and the community.
Here are some ways an OT can help you:
- Adapt day-to-day activities through techniques or equipment to modify tasks (e.g., feeding or dressing).
- Make or modify ways to maximize hand and arm function through use of techniques or equipment. (e.g., using a device to enable the use of a keyboard).
- Assess and recommend wheelchair mobility, seating and positioning systems to promote engagement and participation in daily activities.
- Explore ways in which you can access low and high-tech assistive technology (e.g., ways to use a smartphone with limited hand function or tools such as voice recognition software to control your environment).
- Assess and recommend equipment or modifications to promote your physical function and limit environmental barriers in the home and community (e.g., bathing and toileting equipment).
- Help you explore leisure activities or the use of adapted recreation equipment (e.g., wheelchair basketball or use of a handcycle).
- Enable your return to school, work or employment through adaptation or modification or exploring new vocations. (e.g., safe and accessible work stations). Provide driving evaluations, training and make adaptations or modification recommendations (e.g., hand controls, lift access).
- Evaluate, adapt techniques or recommend resources for parents with SCI (e., adapt a baby bottle for a parent with limited hand function).
- Provide techniques or equipment solutions to promote and preserve the body as you age or experience deterioration of joints (e.g., modifying transfers or recommending assisted-power devices to preserve shoulder function).
- Educate on strategies and techniques for pain management and energy conservation (e.g., modifying tasks or introducing new techniques or adapted movements to decrease pain).
- Educate and promote techniques for reducing or preventing complications associated with SCI (e.g.: pressure injury prevention).
Lee Ann Hoffman, O.T., MSc. Rehabilitation contributed to this post.