Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit developmental difficulties as infants, particularly in their…
Participating in daily activities at school and at home is much more difficult for children with autism than for their peers. Sensory processing issues and difficulties understanding social cues can cause them to react to new situations with distress or even aggression and to withdraw from social activities. Occupational therapy treatment for autism can help children regulate their behaviour and thus participate more effectively in daily activities in this regard. Continue reading to learn more about autism occupational therapy and the benefits of autism occupational therapy.
What is autism?
Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a group of neurodevelopental disorders that affect social, behaviour, and communication skills. The condition has no cure, but the right treatment can help manage the symptoms and improve the child’s ability to participate in daily activities. Typical treatment programs include social and communication skills therapy, speech and language therapy, and stem cell therapy.
Occupational therapy for autism
Occupational therapy for autism is a therapy program that helps a child develop, improve, and maintain the skills needed to participate effectively in social settings and lead an independent life. It considers the child’s individual physical, mental, emotional, cognitive, and sensory needs and teaches skills accordingly. Occupational therapy for autistic children, in particular, focuses on the child’s sensory processing issues, with the goal of assisting children in gaining better control over their behaviour and thus removing learning barriers.
How does occupational therapy help with autism?
There are several advantages to using occupational therapy for autism. Individuals learn the social and motor skills required for independent functioning at home, school, and elsewhere. Occupational therapy for autism can assist in the development of the following skills:
- Gross motor skills such as riding a bike or climbing the stairs
- Fine motor skills such as cutting with scissors or handwriting
- Daily activities such as brushing teeth or using the toilet
- Visual skills for school lessons
- Perceptual skills such as distinguishing between different colours and shapes
- Problem-solving skills
All of this can help autistic child form better relationships with peers and adults, express themselves more effectively, and self-regulate their emotions in social situations.
What is the role of an Occupational therapist?
Typically, the occupational therapist will observe the child to determine how the child currently interacts with their environment and which skills and behaviours require the most attention. Occupational therapy activities for autistic children are tailored to the child’s specific needs and may evolve over time as the child improves in certain areas. Before beginning OT therapy for autism, the therapist may observe the following factors:
- How the child transitions between activities
- Their attention span across activities
- Their responses to stimuli such as touch or sound
- Motor skills, including balance and object handling
- How they interact with caregivers and other kids
- Any aggressive or antisocial behaviours
- Their need for personal space
The above-mentioned occupational therapy techniques for autism will significantly improve the child’s performance at school and elsewhere. In addition, here are some self-care activities to incorporate into autism OT therapy.
- Encouraging the child to dress and bathe themselves and only assisting when necessary
- Teaching them self-help techniques such as reciting a poem, counting numbers, or naming five things in the room when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Overall, occupational therapy for autism has significant benefits, and the sooner a child begins a program, the better the results. Consult your doctor today about the best occupational therapy for autism for your child, and help them develop the skills they need to live independently.