An individual who may be dealing with autism spectrum disorder(ASD) can very often have trouble both interacting and communicating with other people. Also, their play skills, interests and activities may be quite limited. The good news is that people with autism, might be helped by occupational therapy to develop these skills at home and also when they are in school.
In Treating Autism Spectrum Disorder, What Is The Role Of Occupational Therapy(OT)?
Human growth and development is studied by occupational therapists, along with the interaction a person has with their environment through daily activities. They are experts in the physiological, emotional and social effects of injury and illness. This knowledge that they have gained assists them in promoting skills for people to live independently with autism, as well as with other developmental disorders.
It is as part of a team that also includes parents, teachers and other professionals that occupational therapists work. For the person dealing with autism, they help set specific goals. Very often these goals will involve behaviour, social interaction and performance in the classroom. In two main ways, occupational therapists can help, this is through evaluation and therapy.
For Evaluation Of ASD, How Is Occupational Therapy Useful?
Firstly,Children are observed by the therapist to evaluate if they are able to do tasks expected of one their age, such as playing a game or getting dressed adequately. There are times also when the therapist will have someone videotape the child over the course of a day to get a better reading on just what sort of care will be best for the child. Some of the things they may take note of might include:
- Interactions between the child and caregivers
- Aggression or other types of behaviours
- Motor skills like balance, posture or manipulation of small objects
- Responses to touch or other sorts of stimuli
- Need for personal space
- Play skills
- Transition to new activities
- Attention span and stamina
For That Person With Autism Spectrum Disorder, How Does Occupational Therapy Help?
A program can be developed for your child, once an occupational therapist has gathered sufficient information. The truth is that no single ideal program exists. What has been shown to work the best has been early, structured, individualised care.
A variety of strategies may be combined in occupational therapy. These are designed to assist your child in having a better response to their environment. Included in these OT strategies are:
- Adaptive strategies, including coping with transitions
- Developmental activities, such as combing hair and brushing teeth.
- Play activities to assist with communication and interaction.
- Physical activities like doing puzzles or stringing beads that will support the child in developing body awareness and coordination.
Occupational Therapy For ASD – What Are The Benefits?
Helping the person with autism to improve the quality of his or her life both at home and in school is the primary goal of occupational therapy. So that people dealing with autism can be as independent as possible, the therapist helps to introduce, maintain and improve their skills.
Take a look now at just some of the skills that may be fostered by occupational therapy:
- Play, self-help, coping, communication, problem solving and social skills
- Visual skills for reading and writing
- Awareness of his or her body
- Posture, sitting or abilities of perception like telling the differences between sizes, shapes and colours
- Gross motor skills used for walking, riding a bike or climbing stairs
- Fine motor skills needed for cutting with scissors or holding objects while handwriting
- Daily living skills like brushing teeth, dressing, toilet training and other grooming skills
By working, during occupational therapy, on these skills, a child with autism might be able to:
- Learn how to self-regulate
- Engage with peers in play
- In more appropriate ways, express their feelings
- Learn how to delay gratification
- Learn how to focus on tasks
- Develop peer and adult relationships
Just What Is Sensory Integration Therapy?
You may already have heard some things regarding sensory integration therapy. The reason for that is most likely because many researchers estimate that 8 out of 10 children with autism do have issues and problems processing sensory input. As an example, background noise is something they cannot filter out. Some other signs of difficulties with processing may include:
- Oversensitivity to touch and the feel of different types of clothing like seams and socks
- Problems with body position in space
- Problems with balance
With autism, attention, behavioural or social problems may be partly a result of these sensory challenges. Even though more research is required, OT can be of help with some of the related behavioural problems and with sensory integration. Research has also suggested that regarding improving academic performances, integration therapy is less helpful.
Examples of Activities that can be included in Sensory Integration Therapy:
- Wearing a weighted vest
- Spinning on a scooter
- Compressing elbows and knees
- Being brushed or deeply touched and massaged
For Autism Spectrum Disorder, How Can Someone Obtain OT Services?
Occupational therapy services may be obtained either privately, at school, or through a statewide early childhood intervention program. School-based OT tends to be more functional in nature . It typically works in conjunction with goals of education such as the improvement of handwriting so that the child involved can begin to be able to take notes and complete school work. Private therapy tend to be more medically intensive.