FAQ: What is the Difference Between Occupational Therapy & Speech Therapy?

Occupational Therapy vs. Speech Therapy

Therapy that can increase client skills within normal daily functioning can be useful for people with a wide variety of needs. Occupational therapy can assist patients with learning new skills that can increase their quality of life through one-on-one practice.

Occupational therapists must go through the right educational channels and training prior to receiving their license. This license can allow them to work with clients in a clinic setting or even directly in their own home.

A need for occupational therapy services might be identified when clients present with struggles in completing normal daily tasks associated with hygiene, cooking and cleaning, and even dressing.

OT can be a helpful service for individuals that have been diagnosed with different types of physical of emotional disorders, or even for people within normal developmental milestones. A recommendation for services is generally based upon a person's ability to complete normal tasks in a regular day.

What is Speech Therapy?

People that have been identified as having disorders relating to speech and communication may be referred out to speech language pathologists within their area. This therapy provided from these professionals can assist clients with developing better speech movements, as well as assist them with making better connections between words and their meanings.

Speech therapy can apply to people that have slurred or irregular speech patterns, clients with tongue-tie, individuals that have experienced aphasia due to injury or illness, or even children that are late talkers. Any person experiencing difficulty with speaking or understanding words could potentially benefit from speech therapy.

Occupational Therapy Benefits

Occupational therapy can assist individuals with learning the necessary skills to live independently and positively. In some cases, receivers of OT can generalize the skills learned through this type of therapy to other areas within their lives, making this service highly beneficial for later skill development.

OT can also be used when working on individuals that have received injuries or those that are recovering from illnesses that may have affected their ability to function at a normal physical level. Repetition, modeling, and practice can help clients to develop proper channels for completing tasks, reducing the need for constant physical assistance.

Occupational Therapy Interventions and Client Population

Treatment plans and interventions in occupational therapy can vary based upon needs found through an initial assessment. The client population for OT can vary, since skill development and acquisition can be hindered based on genetics, illness, injury, and even early neglect.

Intervention plans often include modeling practices that can teach clients through direct instruction. Therapists within this field can also work with their patients in their own home, so that tasks and methods learned are relevant to their real-world environment.

Benefits

Some of the benefits associated with receiving speech therapy can be related to general social integration and academic success. In a lot of cases, speech and language issues are found at an early age, which can lead to interventions that correct speech impairments and help children get on track with their developmental milestones.

Recipients of speech therapy services can have their treatment plan altered as they progress through different skills in order to maximize their development from start to finish. The initial treatment plan for clients of speech therapy may include treatment goals that can be modified as clients reach each one.

Learning new skills in speech and language can add to a client's self-image and self-esteem, which can lead to better progress in other areas within their personal life. Individuals that have developed speech disorders as a result of injury or illness can also benefit from the rehabilitative nature of speech services, since these services can be assistive in helping clients move back into their previous level of communication.

Interventions and Client Population

Interventions in speech therapy are typically based upon the needs of the clients. People that seek out speech services for young children may receive services that can help with developing normal speech muscle movement, interventions that help with practicing normal tongue and air utilization during specific speech sounds, and even word association exercises to help with word comprehension.

These intervention plans can look different depending on the age and ability of the client being served. Speech therapy can be used with clients within all age groups, including children as young as 1.5 years old up to adult age clients. Speech services can be used for normal developmental delays in speech, language issues related to illness or injury, or even problems related to physical development.