Autism is a complex developmental condition that presents challenges in social interactions, communications, restrictive interests/activities/play skills, sensory processing issues, and difficulty with motor skills. Occupational Therapists in paediatric settings often work with children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to help them improve their ability to engage in meaningful activities in whatever environment they happen to be in (e.g. school, home, community). This may be done by working on motor skills, sensory processing skills, and daily living skills (e.g. self care, handwriting).
Occupational Therapists use a holistic, strengths based approach when creating intervention plans for children with ASD. The process starts with the OT observing/discussing with the child and discussing with family members (and teachers) to determine goals that are tailored to the child and their needs. From there, the OT will develop an intervention plan that takes into account the barriers and strengths of the child to best help the child reach their full potential.
OTs also know that children learn best through play that is fun, and ensure intervention plans have play based activities. OTs also ensure to work with the child’s family so both child and family have the tools to help achieve goals without creating more work for the family as a unit.
By engaging in Occupational Therapy, a child with ASD can improve their ability to engage in meaningful activities important to them and positively interact with the world around them.
Author: Laikien Daggett, Occupational Therapist