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COTA Thoughts

Crafts and Activities in OT

Published June 7, 2013 10:06 AM by Tim Banish

Something that was really missed from my early days in OT is the use of crafts. My schooling included two semesters of Media, which entailed all forms of craft making related to specific diagnoses. These days with tight budgets there are very few craft activities used in OT treatment.


Going back to the early days of OT, crafts were the integral part of an OT treatment. Granted that included mainly the mental health population, but there were many other uses for crafts with any rehab population. Children love to make things, and I had good success using crafts with some of the ones I worked with years ago. I also found most females love to make crafts, be it beading, sewing or other art work.


As I mentioned, my schooling included two semesters of Media. In Media we learned woodworking, beading, ceramics, plaster forms, copper tooling, lacing, leather work, and more. However the biggest thing our instructors taught us is to use the appropriate craft for the appropriate diagnosis. Along with that we learned methods of adapting crafts to a client's abilities.


Today the restricted budgets deter the use of crafts, as supplies always need to be replaced. Occasionally I would buy some crafty items to bring to work, and use them with people who didn't fare well with traditional therapy techniques. One case was an older female who had a light stroke, with a prior medical history of mental illness. Her only source of income was disability, but to make a few extra dollars she crafted and sold at flea markets. With little progress seen over two weeks she was being scheduled for discharge and long term placement until we included some crafts in her daily treatment. That was the spark we were looking for, and she made wonderful progress and returned home a month later.


Activities is the other area mentioned here, meaning things we do for enjoyment. Combining something the patient enjoys while addressing their goals can be a difficult thing to find, but your patient will probably work harder and make better progress if they are not thinking about it being work. If you remember being a child and playing ball or riding a bike, as much as you were exercising you were also having fun, right? For some ideas on crafts and activities I have an e-book here on Advance. Creative-Resident-Activities


Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-



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