How Occupational Therapy Helps Different Brains
Occupational therapy has long been recognized as a vital therapy for providing neurodiverse individuals with the tools and strategies to lead fulfilling lives. In recent years, the focus on neurodivergent occupational therapy has gained momentum, emphasizing the unique needs and strengths of individuals with neurological differences. This blog aims to explore the transformative role of occupational therapy in supporting neurodivergent individuals on their journey toward independence, empowerment, and a higher quality of life.
Understanding Occupational Therapy for Neurodiverse Individuals
Occupational therapy helps neurodiverse individuals by helping them discover who they are, what they can contribute to society, and how they can live their best life. We start by making a personalized plan with the individual on how to make their life easier for them.
Taking Care of the Whole Person With Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy looks at everything – the body, the brain, feelings, and even how someone experiences the world around them. It’s important to consider an individual’s life’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and sensory aspects. Together with the individual and caregivers, occupational therapists take a holistic approach to help figure out what areas of their lives are challenging and what are their strengths.
Making Senses Work Better
It’s common for neurodiverse individuals to have differences in how they experience sensations in their world- they may feel sensitive to things like touch or sounds. Occupational therapists work to identify sensory sensitivities or challenges and implement strategies to regulate and adapt to different sensory inputs. For example- working with the individual to develop adaptive strategies for sensitivities related to food textures and picky eating. Occupational therapists can help progress through different food textures using various techniques that first start with foods the individual can tolerate and eat frequently. Then, we start adding foods that are similar in texture, color, size, etc.
Skill Development and Independence
Occupational therapy helps learn practical life skills, social skills, and executive functioning abilities. It could be learning how to tie shoelaces or even making friends. It’s essential to take a strength-based approach to help build trust, confidence, and independence with daily tasks that allow them to engage in meaningful activities. A strength-based approach is when an occupational therapist builds upon a person’s strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses.
Family and Community Involvement
Families and friends are essential in the therapeutic process, too! Occupational therapists work with families to implement strategies at home and collaborate with community organizations and schools to create supportive spaces for neurodivergent individuals.
Technology and Innovation in Therapy
It’s common for a neurodiverse individual to process information differently than we expect; therefore, it is important to utilize various interactive tools and technology to enhance the therapeutic experience and cater to individual needs. Many apps and digital devices are available to help create independence in daily tasks. Occupational therapists look at ways to support learning through apps, games, and other devices.
How Can Carolina Therapy Connection Help With Neurodiverse Individuals?
At Carolina Therapy Connection, all of our therapists are neurodiversity-affirming. They recognize that neurodivergence is not an illness or disability that needs to be corrected or fixed. They recognize that neurodiverse individuals come with their own set of strengths that can be fostered. Occupational therapy can have a transformative impact in empowering individuals to overcome challenges, embrace their strengths, and lead fulfilling lives. At Carolina Therapy Connection, we believe it’s all about making sure everyone, no matter how their brain works, can be a part of the fun and excitement in life!