A patient comes into your occupational therapy practice one day. Mom worries because their little one’s fine motor skills lag behind other children’s. You have the knowledge and ability to help this young patient, but do you have the right tools for the job?

Occupational therapy tools and supplies are necessary for treating children and adults with learning disabilities. Does your practice struggle with choosing the right occupational therapy devices and OT supplies? Weave is here to help.

Understanding Occupational Therapy Tools

OT tools help patients with disabilities, illnesses, and injuries overcome challenges at work, at school, and in their daily lives. For instance, a person with autism might struggle with learning, writing, coordination, and other important life skills. Providers can use occupational therapy supplies, such as pencil grips and fidget toys, to help patients of all ages hone their skills and abilities.

You can purchase traditional tools and more modern solutions. Traditional tools include:

  • Adaptive equipment, such as reachers/grabbers, dressing sticks, knob turners, and shower support bars
  • Manual exercise devices
  • Writing tools
  • Therapeutic toys and games to play with (great for special needs children and schools) 

The best occupational therapists integrate modern solutions, such as phone apps and computer software, to assist patients with everyday activities. If you have a patient with a mental disability, for example, they might respond well to learning new skills through an engaging mobile app.

Essential Occupational Therapy Tools

Assessment devices, therapeutic equipment, and patient education resources are must-have tools for any occupational therapist. Let’s review each category in more detail next.

Assessment Devices

  • Hydraulic hand dynamometer
  • Pegboard manipulation and dexterity test
  • Goniometer (measures range of motion)
  • Questionnaires, such as the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), Sensory Processing Measure, and Armstrong Neurodiversity Strengths Checklist 

Therapeutic Equipment

  • Slant boards for posture support
  • Weighted lap pads and vests (ideal for calming children with sensory disabilities)
  • Switch-adaptive equipment and toys to play with, such as plush animals with lights and sounds, music kits, and easy-to-operate games
  • Wiggle cushions
  • Rocker chairs 

Patient Education Resources

  • Instructional handouts for students at school
  • Lists of exercises a person can do at home to build gross and fine motor skills
  • Memory notebooks
  • Journals in which patients can write about their challenges with a specific task
  • Videos to help improve visual attention abilities
  • Guide to help patients understand their diagnosis 

Adaptive Tools for Enhanced Therapy

You probably pick up your fork or button your coat without a second thought. But for a person with a mental, physical, or developmental disability, life isn’t quite so simple. Such people may struggle to feed themselves, get dressed, or use the restroom.

Therapists can purchase tools to help patients adapt and overcome the challenges of their disability. Such OT tools may include:

  • Hygiene tools: Adaptive hairbrushes, built-up toothbrushes, toothpaste dispensers, elongated faucets
  • Self-feeding tools: Plate guards, thick-handled/weighted silverware, ergonomic can openers, rocker knives
  • Bathing tools: Shower/bathtub grab bars, non-slip mats, tub stools, removable showerheads, long-handled sponges
  • Dressing tools: Button hooks, sock aids, dressing sticks, shoe horns
  • General occupational therapy tools: Writing aids, adaptive garden hose sprayers, battery-operated scissors 

Technological Advancements in Occupational Therapy Equipment

Technology gets better and smarter every year, so why not take advantage for your patients’ sake? For instance, occupational therapists can buy apps that guide patients through tasks and teach them new skills. These apps are perfect because patients can use them at home, not just at your practice.

Virtual reality also shows real promise as a must-have tool for occupational therapists. If you’ve ever played a VR game on a headset like the Oculus Quest, you were probably amazed at how lifelike the experience seemed.

This is why VR can be so helpful for people with disabilities. It allows them to practice skills such as lifting and bending in a safe, controlled environment.

Selecting the Right Occupational Therapy Tools

With so many OT tools on the market, finding the best ones for your practice can feel overwhelming. Before making a purchase, consider:

  • What age groups do you treat? If you primarily treat children, stock up on engaging toys and games.
  • What types of therapy do you offer? Some tools offer great versatility, while others may be more specific to your niche, so choose accordingly.
  • How big is your office? It’s tempting to go overboard, but don’t buy too much stuff if you don’t have room to store it.
  • How durable and user-friendly is the equipment? Don’t buy items that will break after a few uses.
  • How large is your budget? If you’re strapped for cash, it’s usually better to buy a few high-quality tools rather than a bunch of less reliable ones that won’t last very long.

Implementing Occupational Therapy Tools in Your Practice

To effectively implement new equipment:

  • Train staff on how to use tools before giving them to patients.
  • Introduce new equipment to patients gradually to avoid overwhelming them.
  • Collect feedback on how well patients think the tools work and how easy they are to use.
  • Regularly evaluate your tools and replace any that no longer serve your needs.

Looking for More Occupational Therapy Resources? Try Weave!

Occupational therapy tools are constantly improving, and if your practice strives to help patients more effectively, it’s smart to review your arsenal of equipment and resources every now and then.

Want to stay ahead of the competition? Give our practice management software a shot. Get a free demo of Weave now to see what we can do.

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