online occupational therapy

Online Occupational Therapy: Demystifying a Common Myth

Is Online Occupational Therapy Just Glorified Physical Therapy?

People are often curious about the relationship between Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT). Since both Onsite and Online Occupational and Physical Therapists help individuals increase their independence after an injury or physical impairment, they seem quite similar. In fact, some even think that the two are synonymous!

However, despite their many similarities, there are significant and important differences between the two professions as well. Lacking awareness of these differences may prevent someone in need from seeking the right therapy and getting the best help. So, what exactly is this difference?

Physical Therapy Defined

As part of their education and training, occupational and physical therapists must learn and master the anatomy, the musculoskeletal system, and physiological functioning much like that of a medical doctor.  However, Physical Therapists apply this education to improving movement and regaining strength, especially after an accident or injury.

Physical therapy is concerned with identifying, understanding and treating abnormalities arising from injuries or other physical impairments. While an occupational therapist will conduct a diagnosis as well, the physical therapist diagnoses and treats the physical source of the problem; the injured tissues and structures.

So, Then What is Occupational Therapy?

After determining what hinders the client’s freedom, Onsite or Online Occupational Therapy sets out to change that!  The OT evaluates and aims to improve a person’s functional abilities.  An OT does not treat the injury but rather seeks to optimize their patient’s independence.  The goal is to enable the patient to live “normally” notwithstanding physical impairment or injury.

Since the Occupational Therapist focuses on increasing functionality, the OT sometimes will perform assessments of the patient’s environments–whether it be work or home.  These assessments allows the OT to recommend modifications that will maximize quality of life and greater independence. In Online Occupational Therapy, a third party will perform this evaluation.

Integral to the occupational therapist’s training is the understanding that the client’s success may require modifying the physical environment to help the patient to maximize functionality in light of constraints and limitations due to the injury.  Alternatively, this may require the patient to use equipment designed to increase independence, all part of the Occupational Therapist’s training.

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Simply, The Difference Is?

Understanding the role of each therapist, it's time to clarify the difference.  The easiest way to describe the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy is that a physical therapist (or physical therapy assistant) treats the patient’s actual impairment, while an occupational therapist (or occupational therapy assistant) treats that impairment in action.

Physical Therapy aims to improve the physical function that has been compromised by the disability by increasing mobility, aligning bones and joints or lessening pain. On the other hand, On-Site or Online Occupational Therapy helps patients adapt to their “new reality” by showing them how to compensate and complete necessary everyday tasks despite new challenges.

Integrating Physical and Occupational Therapy

The beauty is that often these two therapies can be integrated to maximize the patient’s benefit.  For example, for a patient recovering from knee replacement surgery, the PT would give exercises designed at improving mobility with the new artificial knee and to ease post-surgery pain and stiffness.

On the other hand, the OT would instruct the patient how to use a wheelchair in the early stages of recovery.  Once the patient was ready, the OT would shift to helping practice going up and down stairs on the new knee.  This close collaboration between the PT and OT becomes critical in helping the patient achieve a full recovery.

 

Energize Your Kid's Online Speech Therapy

Energize Your Kid’s Online Speech Therapy

Online Speech Therapy clinicians provide the help your child needs. But how can you, as a parent, maximize the therapeutical experience? Simply put, how can you help your child?

Online Speech Therapy Means Being Proactive

Being proactive begins, like so many other things in life, by getting an education. The world of special needs can be a confusing place. It comes with a whole new language: IEP, IFSP, OT, ST, PT, LRE, FAPE, and the list goes on and on! Upon discovering that your child has special needs, get educated. Read all you can and find out what resources are available in your area.

Then ask lots and lots of questions. Do NOT be afraid to ask questions! There are no stupid ones. SLPs are asked all kinds of questions and certainly don't expect you to know the things they know. Ask whatever you need to understand what is happening. The more you understand, the better you can help your kid through this process.

Advocate for your child! Be your child’s advocate, because you are the BEST person to do it. You know your child better than anyone else and spend the most time with him/her. So get educated, ask questions, and speak up!

Practice, Practice, Practice.

You need to be directly involved in your child’s online speech therapy! While the clinician will bring his/her unique expertise, that doesn’t preclude you from being a big part of your child’s success. Be involved! And the best part is that practicing many speech and language skills can weave into normal, daily activities.

Play memory games and be sure that both of you say the names of the objects on the cards as you turn them over. If your kid is musically inclined, why not use song to practice the sounds/words you want to help your child with?

Want to put that Smartphone to even better use?  Practice calling and talking to grandparents, dad at work, or other relatives and friends who want to (and have the patience) to be part of your kid’s success.

Read books together and let your child repeat words. Ask her what she sees in the picture, or just do something fun like going to the beach or playground. Capitalize on that fun and practice the sounds of the sand, ocean, waves, swim, slide, swing, etc.

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One of the sweetest ideas came from a mother who proudly acknowledged that, “My son gets to lick a lollipop in between repetitions of his words. Five words then a lick. He knows he has to put it down when it is time to work. Sticky but it works.”

Online Speech Therapy Help On The House!

The Internet has provided online speech therapy resources that offer your kids opportunities to reinforce their clinical experience in the comfort of your home. Take a look at the following free resources. Remember: an optimal online speech therapy source is designed to assist your child’s growth and development, not merely to entertain and pass the time.

StoryPlace.org contains several stories and interactive activities for young children (preschool and older). The online offering is multidimensional providing a story and activity, together with activities for parents that can be downloaded and printed.

FunBrain.com includes several games for children. They cover a broad smattering of topics, and are quite educational. They include vocabulary, grammar, reading, math, and some that are thrown in just for the fun of it!

Scholastic.com, The Family Playground website, is a marvelous resource for young children (preschool and older) and mom and dad as well. Included are activities and games that are related to such beloved characters such as Clifford, the Magic School Bus, Walter Wick, and I Spy.

The Tongue Twister Database provides fun as your child masters tongue twisters. Practicing speech never brought with it so many giggles!

listening in social work jobs

Social Work Jobs: 3 Secrets to Master Listening

Importance of Listening in Social Work Jobs

Many clients agree that the experience of being truly heard by another person provides deep healing. Along with the listening comes empathy and acceptance. Aside from feeling “heard and understood,” the client feels that there is someone who is interested and cares!

Many clients agree that the most important thing that they take from counseling is that they feel listened to and understood. Even when their therapist has helped them to clarify, focus, or facilitate change, attentive listening ranks as the most valuable part of the experience.

Listening makes the speaker feel worthy, appreciated and respected. By giving someone all of our attention, we can facilitate interaction on a deeper level, enabling the client to open more of the inner self. By paying close attention, therapists desiring to perfect their social work jobs facilitate more beneficial communication.

Passive Listening and Active Listening

Listening and hearing are two different things. Hearing involves perceiving the sound, is involuntary, and may just reflect auditory capabilities. Listening, in contrast, is much more active. In fact, listening usually requires more energy than speaking as it involves receiving and interpreting the information.

Passive Listening is not much different from hearing. We think that we are listening, but in fact, we are only letting this information go past our brain. When someone listens passively, there is no reaction to what is heard from the speaker; only listening quietly.

On the other hand, Active Listening is entirely different.  It is interactive and dynamic as the listener engages and reacts to the speaker in a holistic manner, whether orally, through facial expressions, or body language. Social work jobs demand active listening!

Keys to Active Listening

Paying Attention

It begins with paying attention! Paying attention means facing the client and maintaining eye contact. Once you have made eye contact, relax, you don’t have to stare at the client. Looking away now and then is fine. Just carry on like any other person. But be sure you remain attentive!

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Avoid the distractions of background activity and noise, or even your thoughts and feelings. You must eliminate, as much as possible, any distraction. Avoiding distractions including the natural dialogue that we all have running through our minds incessantly is critical to success in social work jobs.

Keep an open mind

Listening without judging doesn’t only mean refraining from voicing criticism. It includes avoiding internal judgment as well.  Once you indulge in these judgments you’ve compromised your effectiveness as a listener. Remember, the speaker’s words are expressing thoughts and feelings. You don’t know those thoughts and feelings, and the only way you will is by listening.

Try to feel what the speaker is feeling

If when your client speaks about sadness or pain, you allow yourself to feel sad as well or feel happy when something joyful is expressed, and convey those feelings through your facial expressions and words—then your effectiveness as a listener is enhanced. Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening and the key to success in social work jobs. It can be achieved only by putting yourself another’s place.

Reflecting

Reflective Listening is the process of restating what has been just said either by paraphrasing or summarizing, so the client understands that you have clearly heard what was said. It confirms that the therapist validates the client, through acknowledgment; inviting further expression.

Reflecting is probably the most critical listening technique in social work jobs. By interpreting what was said, it provides the client a chance for greater insight by hearing the feelings of the heart and the thoughts in the mind somewhat differently which enhances self-awareness and acknowledgment of the truth.

Do you hear? Then listen!

The infamous General George C. Marshall once said, "Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker.”  Sue Patton Theole put it, “When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand." Therapists are trained, highly focussed, deep listeners. They don’t just hear people’s words; they know how to listen to them!

mental health therapy jobs need character improvement

Mental Health Therapy Jobs Require Character Refinement

The Uniqueness of Mental Health Therapy Jobs

Those who have mental health therapy jobs enter into a unique relationship with their clients. Discounting personal relationships, where do you find an interaction so heavily focused on listening, feeling, and communicating with such care and precision? Bottom line: therapy is both a fantastic opportunity and an awesome responsibility requiring constant character refinement.

Promoting Modeling

A critical function for those in a mental health therapy job is to be a role model for the client. It 's hard to overestimate the impact upon the client in seeing how the therapist has successfully resolved her problems.  Therapy reaches beyond the boundary of the cognitive and enters into the realm of the experiential as the client is not only told what do, but sees firsthand how to do it.

This modeling requires far more than wisdom. Clinician occupying mental health therapy jobs must have undergone a journey yielding self-knowledge, aside from recognizing and accepting various aspects of her inner-self. Being such a role model creates an imperative for the therapist to refine her character regularly to maintain and maximize that influential position.

Building Trust

Due to the client’s vulnerability, trusting the therapist is nearly impossible unless the clinician is compassionate. As such, therapists must be warm, caring, and empathic. If you don’t genuinely care about people, then a mental health therapy job is not for you! Your client needs someone who is warm, who understands, and who cares. Words aren’t enough – the client needs to feel it.

That empathy and compassion needs to be continually refreshed and refined to remain genuine. Therapists who burn out emotionally not only lose their effectiveness, but also could become a liability for their clients. Their insensitivity and feigned concern can be toxic. On the other hand, the clinician whose heart is expanding becomes a more trusted, beloved and effective therapist.

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Enhancing Success

Generally speaking, those successful in mental health therapy jobs tend to have an optimistic outlook and a strong belief in the possibility of personal growth and change. However, that doesn’t mean that they underestimate the strength of the defense system.  While being sensitive to people’s fear of change, particularly at crucial points in the therapeutic process, they remain hopeful.

Hope is a powerful motivator, especially in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems.  Feeling that something is going to work is often critical to effective treatment. For a clinician to be successful, reality must be balanced with hope. As the therapist becomes a more hopeful person in general, sessions become infused with greater potential and promise.

The Fringe Benefit

Although knowledge, skills, and experience are crucial to success in a mental health therapy job, therapists must not ignore the need to refine their character constantly.  Neglecting to do so will let down your clients and may stymie your career.  On the other hand, undertaking this refinement will indeed transform your therapy.  You know what – it will transform you as well!