Occupational therapy and speech therapy explained

Both involve working with people whose daily lives might be affected by disability, injury or illness.

Understanding the difference

There’s a bit of overlap in these two kinds of therapy, and often speech therapists and OTs work together.

What is speech therapy?

Speech therapy is included in some of our extras cover and is focused on communication and swallowing problems. Speech therapists (also called speech pathologists) help people with problems like stutters, lisps and voice disorders. They may also help with difficulties around reading, writing, eating or drinking. Their main goal is to help people communicate with more ease and fluency. 

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What does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapy is included in some of our extras cover and has a wider focus. They work with people to improve their participation and independence in all sorts of everyday activities. They help people overcome problems due to learning difficulties, disabilities, illnesses, accidents, mental health problems, age and more. 

If you, or someone in your family, is having some trouble with normal daily activities (e.g. dressing in the morning, learning to drive, cooking or feeding, leisure activities), an OT will help you figure out your goals and work towards them. Occupational therapy for kids might involve helping with balance and fine motor skills. But it could also mean help with emotional self-regulation and social skills, so that kids can play and learn more easily.

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Common questions

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