Western New York’s Occupational Therapy Resource

Occupational Therapy is Optimal for Rehabilitation

Buffalo Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy | Buffalo NY | Buffalo OT

Michelle Eliason, MS, OTR/L, C.D.S., CKTS


History of Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy has just recently celebrated its 100th year anniversary. Four years before physical therapy was thought of or established, the occupational therapy profession emerged after the formation of the National society for Promotion of Occupational Therapy (now AOTA) was established . (1) 

Occupational therapy began during the world wars practicing within the scope of mental health and emotional traumas. As needs began to become more apparent, occupational therapy slowly expanded its scope to meet rehabilitation needs for Aids, polio, tuberculosis, etc. In 1950, the first announcement was made via the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT) establishing the practice area of occupational therapy: “Occupational therapy is a professional service which uses purposeful activities to aid the patient in recovery from and/or adjustment to disease or injury.  It is prescribed by the patient’s physician and administered by the occupational therapists with consideration not only of the specific disability but also of the patient’s physical, mental, emotional, social and economic needs.” (1) 

Common Misconception

There is a misconception, justifiably so, regarding the term ‘occupation’. Occupation means job/career—but not always. In terms of the profession, occupation means meaningful activity. In other words, occupational therapy uses activities meaningful to the individual when approaching treatment in leu of rote exercises. For example, if the goal is to go home and be independent when bringing groceries inside, one must have balance, strength in legs/back/core/arms, cognitive wherewithal, ability to adapt to changing environments and lighting, etc. Instead of using a machine or exercise equipment, an occupational therapist may actually fill some weighted bags and create an obstacle course, use stairs, or recreate the act using your own environment. Meaningful activities to address ailments is always going to produce more efficient treatment sessions thereby minimizing the therapy you may need to achieve the goals you desire.

Occupational therapy (OT) is an optimal therapy approach.

OT is a part of the complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) approach to treatment and recovery. Holistic medicine means looking at the whole person. It is not just your muscles/bones that lead to successful rehabilitation, but looking at cognitive, mental, emotional, neurological, sensory, physical, environment, etc. One of the main approaches Occupational Therapy uses is the  Person-Environment-Occupation model because it promotes the maximization and efficiency in therapy.

OT is an optimal choice for referrals and rehabilitation because it is a generalist profession. Therapists in the occupational profession have been educated in many aspects of the human condition and educated in treatment approaches to address many physical, neurological, and mental diagnoses. For more information regarding an occupational therapist’s education and scope of practice CLICK HERE .

    Contact occupational therapy for:

    • Alternative pain management   
    • Stroke Rehabilitation
    • Physical Rehabilitation (alternative approach)
    • Cardiac Rehabilitation
    • Aging in Place
    • Aging in your own home
    • Consultation
    • Fall Prevention
    • Balance
    • General Weakness
    • Establish a full occupational profile
    • Establish a full cognitive profile

    Michelle Eliason, MS, OTR/L, C.D.S, CKTS  is both an occupational therapist and CARES Dementia Specialist. She has been an elder care professional for 7+ years. Working in various aspects of the elder care industry has given her a generalist skill set and a broad knowledge base of elder care approaches and resources. Michelle is passionate about influencing the elder care industry advocating against nursing home negligence and elder abuse, and working with older adults to enable them to live in their own homes throughout the aging process.

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