What does an Occupational Therapist do for a child with Autism?

27 Dec, 2021

According to statistics, 1 in every 150 people has autism, with boys being four times more likely than girls. However, Occupational Therapists can help autistic children improve their interaction with the environment and those around them. Here are some of the areas an Occupational Therapist can assist your child with.

How does an occupational therapist help with autism?

1. Sensory processing skills

Children with autism, medically known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), often have sensory processing difficulties. Their sensory system is typically over-reactive as their brains processor takes in too much information at once. Therefore, this can lead to them needing occupational therapy services to learn, develop and maintain necessary skills to lead everyday lives.

Occupational therapists work closely with the parents to help the child manage overstimulation through child-centred strategies. For example, they often recommend sensory diets to avoid overstimulation or making the child feel overwhelmed. They also recommend activities such as bedroom modification to improve sleep and wearing of audio devices in class to filter out noise.

2. Creation of sensory circuits

After diagnosing and observing a child with autism, the Occupational Therapist will develop a unique program for the child. One of the programs includes creating sensory circuits. Sensory circuits arouse all senses, which is an excellent way to energise kids and ease them into the day. They include gross motor skills like star jumps, spinning, and skipping, stimulating their central nervous system readiness for learning.

Additionally, organising activities like juggling, wobble board balancing, and log rolling force the brain to work together with the body while activities like push-ups, weight lifting, and heavy muscle work calm the body and effectively enhance its regulation of sensory input.

3. Intense emotion regulation skills

Skills like managing emotions and identifying other people prove difficult for a child with autism. Autistic children cannot meaningfully cope with intense emotions and this can lead to needing occupational therapy. They have to undergo occupational therapy sessions to learn how to read, manage and utilise intense emotions.

Some practical methods Occupational Therapists use to enhance intense emotion regulation skills include one-on-one practice, role-play activities, video modeling, and games.

4. Social skills

Autistic children often have a hard time understanding everyday peer interaction. They also find it hard to read body language and cues, greet people appropriately, understand the direction of a conversation, maintain eye contact during a conversation, and predict other people’s feelings and thoughts.

An occupational therapist can assist children with autism in understanding these unwritten rules of social interactions.

Get in touch with us

At Gen Physio, we offer individualised services and can help your child lead a positive and fulfilling everyday life. Our Occupational Therapists can help improve your child’s sensory processing, sensory integration, social skills, emotional, gross, and fine motor skills. We can also help them manage their condition and improve their overall quality of life. Call us today on 1300 122 884 to book an occupational therapy appointment.

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