OT A to Z: A is for Adaptation

Aside from occupation, I am not sure there is a concept that is more inherent to occupational therapy than that of adaptation. While we see the concept of adaptation in other fields (biology, psychology, anthropology), I think the knowledge and skills to address adaptation as an outcome of the therapeutic process is one of the most valuable things OTs can offer the clients and families with whom they work.

The range of things that we can assist our clients to adapt is really interesting. Clients may adapt their behavior, such as when they modify their behavior to seek achieve a desired goal or outcome. Routines can be adapted in order to support function such as incorporating time in a client’s daily schedule so he or she can engage in healthy activities or leisure activities. Temporal adaptations may support various aspects of occupational performance, such as when a work schedule is altered to enable a person who needs more time with his or her self-care routine to fully carry out the role of an employee. Perhaps a task may be modified or adapted, or the use of adaptive equipment may enable a person to perform a specific task. Adaptations of physical environments can be very useful in supporting occupational performance. Adaptations may occur in the home or in the community.

The ability to see the need for adaptations and make appropriate recommendations come from an OTs training, education, and experience. OTs are skilled in the ability to analyze a person’s abilities, the requirements to perform a task or activity, and the context in which this activity takes place. By examining this confluence of factors, OTs are uniquely able to recommend adaptations that support the occupational performance of our clients and families.


Photo is by familymwr and used under Creative Commons License for Attribution  http://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/4910960070/

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