Disabilities take on many different guises and they refer to something within a person that prevents them from doing a task or activity. According to the Equality Act (2010):
You’re disabled ……….. if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.
Each individual has a different idea of what activities are important to them and each activity requires a different group of skills. These skills can relate to movement; posture; sequencing; organisation; vision; comprehension; communication; physical ability; integration of information, to name but a few.
Occupational Therapy looks at the whole of the person to identify what their person centred goals are and where the specific difficulties in achieving them lie. The therapist will then address these difficulties using the most appropriate method, from a wide range of therapeutic models and techniques.
A child who is struggling to concentrate in class could have difficulties with:
- Maintaining their posture
- Visual perception
- Sensory integration
- Physical difficulties leading to pain
- Visual limitations
- Auditory difficulties
An Occupational Therapist would complete a holistic assessment which would look at each of these areas and identify where the issues lay. They would then look at whether adapting the approach to the task or adapting the environment would be the best way forwards to achieve independence.