Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapies
When many people hear the word "therapy," they think of something that has caused a problem and has to be fixed. In most cases, that is true. Most people think the problem may be an injury that has to be rehabilitated or an extreme mental problem where the person needs serious help. However, therapy does not always deal with injured or mentally troubled people. Three types of therapy that help a wide range of people with their problems are physical, occupational, and speech therapies.
Physical therapy is the one that deals mostly with injuries and their rehabilitation. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Physical therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease" (205). Disabling conditions such as lower-back pain, cerebral palsy, arthritis, heart disease, and fractures, as well as physical injuries, are among the cases physical therapists often evaluate and treat. This therapy often includes strength-building exercises. Therapists in this field work on the person's flexibility, endurance, strength, balance, and coordination. Most therapy is done in specializing clinics or hospitals by a licensed physical therapist who has a bachelor's degree ("Physical").
Physical therapy is a fairly new practice of rehabilitation. The treatments were not widely practiced until after World War I when soldiers returned home with injuries that were able to be rehabilitated by this therapy. The profession immediately began to grow and has been popular in the U. S. since that time. The vocation is also expected to continue growing for several more years. But physical therapy is not the only type of therapy that involves the rehabilitation of injuries (The Princeton Review).
The other type of therapy that may deal some with injuries is occupational therapy. Enhancing fine motor skills is the focus of this therapy. Occupational therapists set a goal for their patients which enables them to have more "independent, productive, and satisfying lives" by teaching them how to perform daily functions without the aid of others. Some of these functions may include eating, getting dressed, or using the bathroom. Exercises that improve balance, coordination, trunk control, dexterity, and basic muscle movement are used towards a person's road to an easier lifestyle. Occupational therapists work mainly with people who have disabilities. These may include people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or people who have had a stroke ("Occupational").
Occupational therapy is my current major of study, so I am doing volunteer work for several therapists right now at Parent-Child Services in West Knoxville. It is very interesting to sit and observe each session. I am presently observing a four-year-old...