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Adaptive Equipment OTA Students Should be Familiar with

When beginning the educational journey toward OTA certification, the phrase adaptive devices may be foreign to you. All new students have questions about what is involved in their future careers and it’s no different for those entering the OTA field. Occupational therapy assistants use different kinds of adaptive equipment when working in their field. As an occupational therapy assistant student, becoming familiar with these tools early on in your educational career can be beneficial.

What are adaptive devices?

Adaptive devices are supportive tools occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants use to help their patients improve physical movements and daily skills. Occupational therapy adaptive equipment helps patients improve these skills in a comfortable, personalized way.

Senior OTs work with OTAs to create therapeutic plans specific to their patients’ needs. These plans often include working with patients to improve certain skills and tasks with the use of adaptive devices. The occupational therapy adaptive equipment available for those with physical limitations–such as children born without certain limbs–is astounding. Technology and OTAs truly can improve the quality of life for children and adults.

Having knowledge of what adaptive equipment is used by occupational therapy assistants before stepping into a classroom can help new students feel prepared. Below are some of the most common adaptive equipment occupational therapy assistants use when providing services to their patients.

Sensory board and pads

Professionals in the occupational therapy field work with many individuals who have physical disabilities, cognitive delays, or mental health struggles. A very beneficial, supportive tool for practicing calming techniques is sensory boards or pads. These are tactile boards or cushions that, when touched, provide relief and relaxation when patients are overstimulated.

Adaptive utensils

Those who are getting older may struggle to cut food safely on their own or lift a fork to their mouth. Adaptive utensils help individuals struggling with feeding feel more comfortable and confident during meal preparation and eating. There are utensils with rubber, textured, or larger grips–as well as grips with finger holes–that make feeding a more enjoyable experience.

Handwriting tools

There are many reasons younger children may need assistance when learning to write. Even though the world is focusing more on keyboard typing these days–a skill OTAs also help with–handwriting is still a big part of daily life. There are many different sized writing tools and grips available as adaptive equipment for those receiving occupational therapy.

Dressing aids

Getting dressed–which includes buttoning and zipping–can be tough for younger children, older individuals, and those who face physical limitations. OTAs can work with their patients to utilize dressing kits with different tools for different dressing skills. Some tools help pull on socks while others may help with buttoning and zipping.

Hand movement mechanisms

Adaptive devices in the occupational therapy field help with both fine and gross motor movement. Hand movements often fall in both of those categories. When someone struggles to grab, hold, or carry objects, OTAs can provide assistive devices to help make those activities easier.