What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a form of physical and mental treatment aimed at improving the ability to perform activities and tasks that are important to daily life, and focuses on self-care tasks, home management, leisure, work, and functional mobility. Injuries and other ailments can make daily tasks that were once simple difficult or even impossible, and may even rob adults of their independence. The goal of occupational therapy is to therefore increase independence in desired, meaningful areas of function.

Occupational therapy aims to help people dealing with both physical and mental impairments to overcome these obstacles and regain their ability to perform these daily tasks and improve their overall quality of life. Occupational therapy is often recommended for people dealing with the mental and physical aftereffects of a stroke, concussion or brain injury, as well as those who have been diagnosed with illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s Disease

What Areas Does Occupational Therapy Address?

Occupational therapists address a variety of treatment areas. One of the most common areas of treatment include ADLs (activities of daily living). ADLs include dressing, bathing, toileting, feeding, grooming, hygiene, and functional mobility. Occupational therapists may focus on compensatory strategies or use of adaptive equipment to increase independence with these tasks and/or improve the biomechanical and cognitive functions necessary to perform these tasks with increased independence. During sessions, fine motor coordination, gross motor coordination, strength, range of motion (ROM), spasticity management, or pain may be addressed to increase functional performance.

IADLs (instrumental activities of daily living) are another common area of intervention. IADLs include caregiving or parenting (of children, family members, or pets), home and financial management, meal preparation, shopping, community mobility, driving, and involvement in spiritual activities of choice. Occupational therapists can educate caregivers on how to cue and assist the individuals they are caring for to increase safety with transfers and increase independence with ADLs. Caregivers can benefit from OT through education and training on strategies to decrease caregiver burden. Your OT may recommend sensory strategies to increase tolerance for a loud, busy shopping center or recommend adaptive equipment to increase ease with chopping during meal preparation. Occupational therapists can assess and treat the visual perceptual, executive functioning, and physical components related to driving if this is a patient goal.

A lesser known area of intervention in occupational therapy is vision. Many patients present with visual perceptual impairments, visual field cuts, decreased peripheral vision, and/or ocular motor impairments following stroke, traumatic brain injury, or concussion. Your occupational therapist can assess these areas and begin treatments including, but not limited to, use of advanced equipment such as Dynavision and the Neuro Sensorimotor Integrator (NSI).

Other areas of treatment in occupational therapy may include weakness and pain resulting from arthritis, previous injury such as a rotator cuff tear, or stroke. Manual therapy techniques, IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization), electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and strengthening can be individualized based on the needs of the patient to decrease pain, improve functional performance, and increase quality of life.

Some adults may face sensory processing challenges, including over or under responsiveness to auditory, tactile, visual, proprioceptive, or olfactory stimuli. Occupational therapists can implement strategies and train on compensatory techniques to increase function in desired environments.

Functional mobility is an important aspect of everyday life. For some adults, functional mobility may include a device or wheelchair. Occupational therapists can assess posture, strength, pain, tone, ROM, coordination, and skin integrity and recommend the most appropriate wheelchair seating system or device. OTs also specialize in recommending other durable medical equipment such as shower chairs and bicycles for leisure and/or exercise.

Finally, occupational therapists are skilled at providing cognitive-based interventions. Perhaps you are having difficulty planning and initiating making doctor’s appointments. Then, after making these appointments, you have difficulty organizing them in a calendar or phone. You may have difficulty following 3-step instructions to make your favorite dessert for your family. Common cognitive areas addressed include problem-solving, memory, planning, organizing, initiating, and attention. Occupational therapists are skilled at providing cognitive interventions related to your desired occupations. While these are common areas addressed by occupational therapists, there are a multitude of other areas of intervention.

Do I Need Occupational Therapy?

Whether or not you need occupational therapy is something that will be determined on a case by case basis. If you think occupational therapy may be beneficial for you, contact our expert occupational therapists to learn more about our services. Occupational therapy is generally recommended for people struggling with basic home management or work tasks or cognitive function. If you are recovering from a stroke or have been diagnosed with MS or Parkinson’s, you would likely benefit from occupational therapy.

You would also benefit if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Self-care or daily routine difficulty
  • Difficulty with home management or work tasks
  • Difficulty seeing things and vision problems
  • Weakness
  • Aches and pains in hands, arms, back or neck
  • Manipulation/finger control difficulty
  • Sensory Processing Challenges
  • Thinking or Cognitive Changes
  • Spasms/Muscle Cramps/Spasticity
  • Needing specialty equipment (stimulation devices, walkers, wheelchairs, and standers)
  • Visual impairments and vision changes
  • Autism

Occupational Therapy with Niagara Therapy, LLC

If you are dealing with any of the challenges listed above, Niagara Therapy, LLC can help. Our experienced team of occupational therapists has expertise in a wide range of conditions, and specializes in treating stroke, concussion, traumatic brain injury, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, vision impairment issues, and cognitive issues, among many other ailments. We also offer adult sensory integration treatments, adult Autism interventions, and low vision and self-care equipment training.

Niagara Therapy, LLC utilizes many advanced tools and techniques that are not available anywhere else in the region. This includes the Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR) Program, Neurosensory Integrator, Dynavision, Binovi, Interactive Metronome, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), NVPT for concussion recovery, Marzden ball for ocular motor and visual perception. and the Complementary Wellness Program.

We offer individual, one on one sessions that are designed to fit your specific goals and objectives. Our skilled staff boasts members with a variety of backgrounds and specialities across many disciplines, and our full team approach combines our strengths to provide you with the best possible treatment.

Advanced Occupational Therapies with Niagara Therapy

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)

Our occupational therapists are specially trained to provide Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM). IASTM is a form of deep tissue massage that is used to loosen up tight and sore muscles, reducing pain and improving daily life. This technique uses specially designed stainless steel tools with precise edges to contour against your body to allow for deeper tissue penetration.

Interactive Metronome

Interactive Metronome is a treatment tool that is used to treat and assess neurological issues. It has been clinically proven to improve neurological function in both children and adults, including attention, focus, motor planning, auditory processing and sequencing. Interactive Metronome uses feedback to train the patient’s brain through self correction.


Dynavision is a training device that individualizes therapy programs for patients dealing with vision, coordination, timing, and focus difficulties. This device uses programmable lights to improve peripheral awareness and attention in visual deficits that are common after stroke, concussion, vision related learning challenges, reaction time challenges, and brain injury.

Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR)

The Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery (PWR) is a recovery program designed to help individuals with Parkinson's Disease. The program’s goal is to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, improve symptoms, improve and restore function, and increase overall quality of life through a comprehensive exercise and wellness program.

Sanet Neurosensory Vision Integrator

The Sanet Neurosensory Vision Integrator is improves visual abilities for children and adults including visually-related learning problems, vestibular impairments, motion sickness, amblyopia, and concussion/traumatic brain injury.

Wheelchair Evaluations

Niagara Therapy, LLC offers skilled evaluations from a therapy team that has received training from the International Seating Symposium. These advanced skills will provide the opportunity to have a mobility device that best fits your needs. Call to schedule one today!

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)

AAT is the use of a specifically trained animal as a means of therapeutic intervention to expedite healing and recovery of acute and chronic conditions.

Learn more about all the advanced therapies that we offer

Contact Us Today

Whatever challenge you’re facing, Niagara Therapy, LLC’s experienced team of occupational therapists can help you get through it and improve your quality of life. We treat a variety of issues with a range of evidenced-based approaches and treatments in individualized one on one sessions. Appointments are available all day from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 814-464-0627814-464-0627, or send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Let us know what’s on your mind!