Rehabilitation Crafts Key to Rebuilding Real World Skills

It’s fun to make stuff. Crafting activities at Pate are a part of active rehabilitation, not just entertainment to break up the therapy day. Rehabilitation crafts accomplish a lot of things at once. As therapy they can build attention skills, strengthen executive problem solving and provide practice in delicate motor movement. It’s occupational therapy that doesn’t feel like therapy at all.

There are real benefits to crafting. There’s the pleasure in making something by hand. Crafts can also reduce stress, provide distraction from worries, create positive feelings and engagement with others, and also promote a sense of well-being. Many crafters enjoy the sensation of flow, a feeling of effortless absorption that’s been described as blissful.

It’s not just the activity of crafting that is therapeutic. Therapists at Pate use the entire process of preparing for crafting as practice in real world skills. Patients may go on field trips to pick out the materials they need, go through the checkout line and handle the money, and sort and organize the materials back at Pate for use by the group.

For a recent holiday crafts show presented by our supported living residence patients, they literally went the distance with this project, traveling to Home Depot, buying wood and sandpaper and then prepping the wood themselves.

They sanded. They painted. They glued. They made labels. They even added twine ribbons for a perfect presentation.

rehabilitation simulation of shopping at home depotAll that took effort, stamina and focus. These are all activities of daily living (ADLs) which people must have when they finish rehabilitation and head back to their lives.

For people with brain injuries or who have had a stroke, things we do without thinking like shopping, making a list or putting purchases away may need to be relearned or practiced. The entire crafting process can be valuable rehearsal time.

In our continuing quest to always focus on returning people to their real-world environments, Pate Villa Creek Dallas location therapists actually made their own “Home Depot” style wall to simulate examining products and choosing between items right on the treatment floor!

Rehabilitation crafts can also be an excellent way to reconnect people to their hobbies, a vital part of resuming a life with meaning. Because of Pate’s personalization model, we ask patients and their families what specific activities the person likes so we can incorporate them if possible into treatment.