Occupational therapists (often known as OTs) help people with multiple sclerosis in a number of ways. The main aim of occupational therapy is to help people continue to live life as fully as possible, providing practical support to overcome whatever barriers they may find in their daily activities. OTs take a 'whole-person' approach to mental and physical health and well being, and regard 'occupation' as meaning daily self-care, working life and leisure activities.
Very often Occupational Therapists can visit you in your home or workplace and make simple suggestions for changes in lifestyle, or suggest useful equipment and adaptations. Some OTs run clinics or courses on topics like seated yoga or fatigue management, or be part of a larger multidisciplinary team offering related services.
Occupational therapists may specialise in different areas, such as children's health, mental health, driving assessments, home adaptations, or access to work. OTs can also work in hospitals or community-based settings, such as rehabilitation units or MS Therapy Centres.
Initially, a GP or neurologist can refer you to an occupational therapy service. Some OTS work outside the health and social services, and as such they may have a shorter waiting list, but will charge for their services. OTs are included on the map of MS services here on our website, but you can also find one through the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.
Occupational Therapist is a protected title, and to become an OT takes degree-level training and education. Anyone using this title must be on the register held by the Health Professions Council. You can check whether your OT is registered using the search facility on the Health Professions Council's website.
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Occupational therapy - Steph's story
Steph is a music and performing arts manager at an FE college. She was diagnosed with MS in 2008. Here she talks about how Gilly Burdon, an MS specialist occupational therapist, helped her.
Occupational therapy - Katie's story
Katie was diagnosed with MS in 2008. Here she tells us how Gilly Burdon, an MS specialist occupational therapist helped her.