Occupational therapy can help you or a loved one live life to its fullest

KARACHI – It is extremely important to assist physically-challenged individuals in achieving an independent, productive, and satisfying lifestyle and occupational therapists can play a key role to accomplish this goal, said health experts at a seminar held on Monday.
The seminar was organised by the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) to commemorate World Occupational Therapy Day.
“Occupational therapists are urgently required in the country,” said Dr Nabeela Soomro, director of the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, DUHS. “They are the prerequisite for rehabilitation of the disabled as an occupational therapist also assists them in daily living activities at home like feeding, grooming, bathing, toileting, in returning to work and resuming community activities,” she elaborated.
Dr Soomro said that community-based rehabilitation (CBR) is a strategy employed for the rehabilitation, equalisation of opportunities and social integration of all people with disabilities.
“This, however, can be implemented through combined efforts of disabled people themselves, their families and communities, and the appropriate health, education, vocational and social services.”
DUHS Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Mohammad Umer Farooq, speaking as the chief guest of the event, said that occupational therapy is a healthcare profession that provides services to people, whose ability of everyday functions is disrupted by some disability, developmental problems, aging process, mental illness, or emotional problems.
“The profession has the potential to contribute significantly to the prevention and management of childhood disability in Pakistan,” he said. “It is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide with disabilities can benefit from rehabilitation services.”
Prof Farooq, who is also a senior ENT surgeon, said that it is important to refer children to an occupational therapist as soon as it is evident that they have or are at risk of developing limitations in their development or independent functioning.
Other speakers on the occasion pointed out that the most commonly treated disabling conditions include stroke, arthritis, amputation, birth defects, mental retardation, head injury, spinal cord injury, depression, learning disabilities, drug alcohol abuse and physical disability.
Replying to questions by the participants of the programme, Prof Soomro said that the facilities available at the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, DUHS also focus on helping cerebral palsy patients achieves independence in all areas of their life.
“Occupational therapy for cerebral palsy patients can provide them with positive, fun activities to enhance their cognitive, physical, and fine motor skills and increase their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment,” she said.
“The goal of occupational therapy for cerebral palsy patients is to help them live as independently as possible.”
Later, the participants of the seminar visited clinics of occupational therapy to personally witness the services being offered by the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, DUHS.
On the occasion, adaptive equipment prepared the students, ADL equipment and positioning aids for cerebral palsy children were put on display.