Comparison Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy and physical therapy are similar. Both can be used to help one recover from physical injuries. However, there are some distinct differences. If your child struggles to grasp his toys, do you seek occupational therapy for children, or do you go to a physical therapist? 

Physical therapists are specialists whose concern is the movement of the body. They use massage, exercises, and other techniques to improve motion and mobility. Physical therapists are mainly concerned about the rehabilitation and treatment of physical impairments. 

Occupational therapists, on the other hand, have a variety of functions. They don’t just focus on a single issue. Instead, they help to improve physical, cognitive, visual, and general coordination functions. The occupational therapy Singapore techniques go beyond the physical. 

While physical therapists attempt to strengthen one’s muscles to improve movement, occupational therapies try to understand the root cause of the physical limitations. 

Does your child need occupational therapy? 

Is your child lagging in the development of fine and gross motor skills? Does he have behavioural challenges that keep him from completing tasks? Does he have emotional outbursts that make it difficult for you to predict his mood and reactions? If your response to either one or all these questions is yes, then you need occupational therapy for children. 

Professional Occupational therapists use techniques that focus on three major areas; habilitation, rehabilitation, and wellness promotion. 

The holistic approach used by occupational therapists attempts to identify the reasons behind a child’s inability to perform daily tasks. For example, a child with delayed speech or poorly developed motor skills will be examined for health conditions, such as ADHD, neuromuscular disorders and autism. 

Once the cause is identified, occupational therapy for children is undertaken to improve the child’s independence as much as possible.

Some of the symptoms to look out for in children in need of occupation therapy include;

  • Sensory-processing problems. For example, does your child have delayed or no reactions to physical stimulation? 
  • Poor visual perceptual skills. Some children struggle to make sense of what they see. For instance, some children have a difficult time distinguishing b from d, or p and q. 
  • Poorly developed cognitive skills. A common problem that occupational therapy for children addresses is the inability to pay attention. 

Difficulty with small muscle movements, usually with the fingers, hands, and toes. For example, if your child struggles to grasp a pencil to write, an occupational therapist will introduce exercises to improve your child’s fine motor skills. 

Relationship between physical and occupational therapy

Children in need of physical therapy are not usually in pain. Some need their muscles strengthened to allow them to function optimally. For example, children with a short joint range motion can undergo physical therapy to boost endurance and improve movement in the legs, arms and feet. 

There are cases where occupational therapy for children and physical therapy are necessary to improve a child’s quality of life. After analyzing your child’s shortcomings, it is best to determine if both therapies are necessary. Physical therapy is often used for a limited period. If it is not helpful, the physical therapist may recommend alternative treatments, such as occupational therapy.

Occupational therapy Singapore tends to be a long-term treatment option. This is likely because children are trained to manage the difficulties they face. For example, therapy to improve a child’s social skills may be necessary beyond his childhood years.

Occupational therapy for children requires commitment because what works for one child may not work for another. Occupational therapists try different technique until they find the perfect fit for your child.