Understanding Occupational Therapy for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Health & Medical Blog

When your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, finding the coping tools and developmental aides that help him or her progress is essential. With so many supportive services out there, it can be hard to know what you should be doing, but occupational therapy is one of the most common supportive care options for those on the spectrum. Understanding what it can do for your child is the first step toward getting him or her started on a path to independence.

How Can Occupational Therapy Help?

Occupational therapy is personalized, so your child will be focusing on the skills and abilities that he or she struggles with, not those that are simply "standard" autism problems. This allows for more targeted training in the areas that your child is lacking.

Developing these skills in the care of an occupational therapist will make it easier for your child to be able to build and maintain adult relationships, including participating in conversations and sharing interests.

Occupational therapy also teaches kids on the spectrum how to channel their focus to daily tasks and delay that instant gratification demand that often accompanies the condition. This is essential for success in the work place.

It can also help with self-regulation, which is often a struggle for those on the spectrum. And, in the younger years, it can help kids learn appropriate play engagement for successful interaction with peers. For kids with impulse control and emotional expression problems, it can also help them to learn more appropriate ways to express their emotions.

How Does Occupational Therapy Work?

The goal of occupational therapy is to teach your child to be as independent as he or she can be. From self-care to navigating stairs, kids on the spectrum need to be taught how to carry out these actions.

This type of treatment can take many forms and use many different strategies, and the multi-faceted approach can be helpful for reinforcing developmental skills. For example, occupational therapy can include physical activities that not only engage your child but help him or her to create some body awareness, fine motor skills, and coordination.

Integrative play, or play sessions between your child and the therapist, can help to develop communication skills and an understanding of normal interaction. In addition, occupational therapy can also help with training kids in basic self-care, such as teeth brushing, which can be a struggle. For kids with trouble transitioning from task to task, this therapy can provide them with coping tools to help them adapt.

Get in touch with a representative from a place like Dominion Physical Therapy for more information about occupational therapy for children with autism.


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