People who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often have difficulty communicating and interacting with other people; all their games, abilities, activities and interests are usually very limited. In this sense, occupational therapy for autistic children can help these little ones to develop communication skills with other people in their home, school and environment.
What role does OT play in the treatment of ASD?
Professionals in occupational therapy are experts in the study of human growth and development, as well as in the interaction of people with their environment through their daily activities. They are also specialists in the emotional, social and physiological effects that illness and injury can cause. The knowledge they possess helps them to provide the skills that people with autism and other disorders must develop to lead independent lives.
The best way to help people with ASD is to form work teams involving parents, teachers, occupational therapists and other professionals. They will work to establish the goals that the autistic patient should meet. These goals generally include social interaction, classroom performance, and behavior. The two forms of help that occupational therapists provide are assessment and therapy.
What use does OT offer in the evaluation of ASDs?
The primary task of the occupational therapy professional for autistic children is observation. This is important in determining whether they can perform certain activities that can be expected of them at their age, such as dressing or playing a game. On some occasions, the therapist will have to record a video of the child for a whole day to be able to observe and study carefully how the child interacts with his environment, in this way he will be able to better evaluate the type of attention that he will have to provide to the child. Among the situations the therapist might notice are:
The child’s ability is to pay attention and resistance
The person’s transition to new activities
Your playing skills
Your need for personal space
Responses to touch or other types of stimuli
The motor skills he performs such as balance, small object manipulation, and posture
Your attitude towards aggression or other types of behavior
How are the interactions between the child and their caregivers
How does OT help a person with ASD?
Once the information has been collected by the occupational therapist, he will be able to develop the program that will be used in the treatment of the child with autism. The ideal treatment does not exist, but if the program developed by the therapist is well structured and focused on personalized attention, then it will make it work better and produce positive results.
Since occupational therapy combines several strategies, it can make the child respond better to her environment, among the strategies that can be fused in occupational therapy are:
Physical activities, these will help the child to develop coordination and help to become aware of her body, they can be activities such as assembling puzzles and stringing beads.
Play related activities help to help with communication and interaction.
Also developmental activities, such as combing and brushing teeth.
Adaptation strategies, firstly adaptation to transitions
What benefits does OT bring to ASDs?
As we have already highlighted, occupational therapy for autistic children has as its main objective, helping people with autism spectrum disorder to substantially improve their quality of life, both at home and at school.
The occupational therapist collaborates in introducing, improving and maintaining the skills developed by the individual with autism oriented to their independence as much as possible. Among the skills that are fostered by occupational therapy are:
Daily life skills, such as potty training, dressing, brushing teeth, among other personal care skills
Fine motor skills necessary for object selection, handwriting, and scissor cutting
The gross motor skills used in walking, cycling, and stair climbing
Your sitting position, posture, and perception skills, such as differentiating colors, shapes, and sizes
Your perception of your body awareness and your relationship with others
Your visual reading and writing skills
Your ability to reproduce, copy, self-help, problem solving, communication, and your social skills.
So the occupational therapist will work.