Treating Autism: What to Know About Occupational Therapy

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kid talking to a therapist

In some cases, when talking about occupational therapy, some people usually think about learning skills that adults require for work efficiently. However, autistic kids have their work cut out for them to, and they require basic skills to tackle tasks related to learning and daily living.

While autistic kids face extra challenges to success, occupational therapy could help them learn and develop life skills they require for structuring their daily life efficiently in order that they could learn to be as independent as possible.

What Exactly Is Occupational Therapy?

For kids with diagnosed developmental delays or diagnosed mental or physical conditions that come with developmental delays, occupational therapy could aid them in improving their cognitive, motor, communication, play, and sensory processing skills, explains a prominent pediatric occupational therapy specialist in Utah.

The primary goal of therapy is to reduce the possibility of further developmental delays, enhance development, and help families manage the special requirements of their autistic children. Therapy could do just that by helping kids, their families, caregivers, and teachers modify home and school tasks to specifically match their abilities and skills while guiding them to work more efficiently.

How Occupational Therapy Can Help Autistic Kids

Depending on your child’s specific disorder, there is a broad range of skills and abilities that autistic kids can manage, meaning that not all of them would require occupational therapy. For those who will need to undergo occupational therapy, however, it can help your child better manage the following challenges:

  • Being close to other people and being touched
  • Sensory problems like hypersensitivity to noise
  • Getting dressed
  • Going to the toilet
  • Using scissors
  • Letter spacing
  • Writing cursive
  • Feeding themselves
  • Socializing and playing with others
  • Physical coordination
  • Time management
  • Workplace skills for teens and older adults

When looking for an occupational therapist to work with your child, look for a therapist with ample experience and necessary certification.

Specific Occupational Therapy Interventions

he girl and the boy draw happy and sad emoticonsThe most appropriate interventions would vary based on the specific needs of your child. The parents of the child and the other professionals included in the child’s treatment team typically make decisions regarding these interventions.

In school settings, this is usually outlined in the Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is continually reviewed by parents, counselors, teachers, and other relevant individuals to make certain that it’s still appropriate for your kid.

Depending on your preferences, therapy could be conducted inside the classroom or one-on-one at first if your kid has significant trouble concentrating in a busy setting. In addition, an occupational therapist would also make recommendations regarding how you could structure your kid’s days in order that he could manage his days better. These recommendations usually include the following:

  • Learn and apply relaxation techniques.
  • Learn and apply coping skills.
  • Take breaks in between activities.
  • Reduce stimulation or distractions in the environment.
  • Help teachers look for ways to prepare appropriate transitions during activities.

Occupation therapy is just one tool among the various autism treatments available that could help make your autistic child more competent and independent. Consult an experienced occupational therapist to learn if your child could benefit from this kind of therapy.