A Look At How Occupational Therapists Can Help Kids With Autism

Dealing with autism can be challenging and often exhausting for children, with many adults unsure of what treatment to opt for. While some children improve within the stipulated time frame, others develop much slower, leading to complex everyday lives.

Fortunately, Occupational Therapy (or OT) can help such kids overcome their daily struggles, enabling them to achieve tremendous independence in a conducive environment.

Here’s a quick overview of the critical aspects of this sought-after advantageous treatment for those who know little about it. 

What is OT, and Why is it important for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

It is a highly effective treatment formulated for individuals based on systematic assessments and careful evaluations of personal issues. The therapy can help children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) learn to identify and interact with the changing environments. It can also help refine their motor and sensory skills, enabling them to attain a certain level of independence.

Moreover, the approach can help each family member deal with autism effectively, as it is an issue that affects everyone around the child. 

How do occupational therapists help?

Research indicates that the autism rate in children is rising currently,  making these professional therapists all the more critical. Refer to the ensuing list to better understand the positive changes these experts can bring in children with targeted therapeutics.

  • Improve gross motor skills to help children independently walk, ride a bike, or climb stairs.
  • Aid in everyday activities like brushing teeth, toilet training, dressing, etc.
  • Targeted work on their reading and writing abilities.
  • Refine motor skills to help grip items, carry them, and move them from one place to another.
  • Extensive work on emotional and mental health enables them to form bonds and groom social skills.

Key areas of OT

Most children with ASD face severe sensory struggles, making it challenging to identify or recognize touch, color, speech, or taste. An approach to improve these areas can help them interact with audio-visual systems more effectively, helping them form appropriate responses to each sensory room.

Another critical area the therapy targets is the vestibular system, enabling children to attain better posture and overall balance. Similarly, it can help their olfactory senses, teach them how to respond to specific foods, and improve their visual skills.

OT Activities

Occupational Therapy can be fun and intuitive simultaneously, making it enjoyable for kids to learn new things. For instance, it often includes activities like puzzles or stringing beads, which help them coordinate colors, designs, shapes, and other nuances effectively. Storytelling helps them learn morals and boosts listening skills.

Many therapists recommend a simple obstacle course to improve their sense of direction, motor skills, and balance. If they do it in a group, it can boost their social abilities and team spirit. Arts and crafts can improve hand-eye coordination, color matching abilities, and overall cognitive function.

Long-term goals and benefits

The core principles of this fantastic therapy are to empower children with ASD to lead more independent lives. It can help them achieve refined motor skills, greater emotional well-being, and productive academic abilities over a while. In short, they can learn to take care of their personal needs independently to a vast extent.

Finally, many children with ASD can learn to form valuable friendships that keep them in a healthy state of mind, overcoming struggles that are alien to those without ASD.