How Is Occupational Therapy Useful For Evaluation Of Asd
The therapist observes children to see if they can do tasks they are expected to do at their ages — getting dressed or playing a game, for example. Sometimes, the therapist will have the child videotaped during the day in order to see how the child interacts with their environment so that they can better assess the kind of care the child needs. The therapist might note any of the following:
- Attention span and stamina
- Responses to touch or other types of stimuli
- Motor skills such as posture, balance, or manipulation of small objects
- Aggression or other types of behaviors
- Interactions between the child and caregivers
Occupational Therapy Assessment For Autism
When an occupational therapist assesses your child, he/she will typically start with a discussion with you about your childs goals. The therapist might also ask your childs teacher for input. The therapist might visit your childs home or school for further observation. He/she will assess your childs capabilities and challenges. You should bring a copy of your childs Childhood Autism Rating Scale and sensory profile.
Once the occupational therapist has a clear understanding of your childs goals and abilities, he/she will create a comprehensive intervention plan. The therapist might make recommendations for adaptive equipment. If so, the therapist will train you and your child to use the equipment. Depending on your childs needs, communication devices, visual supports, or adaptive educational equipment might be appropriate. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. .
How Occupational Therapy Sessions Work
An OT session is typically 30 to 60 minutes. Sessions are scheduled regularly, though the number of sessions per week will depend on the needs and goals of the individual. During a session, the therapist works one on one with the client to perform specific tasks designed to develop the previously identified goals.
An occupational therapist will encourage the practice of skills outside of the therapy session as well. The goal of OT is to be able to translate learned skills across a variety of settings the individual encounters in everyday life.
Parents and caregivers can receive OT consultation to learn how to implement appropriate interventions at home. This level of family participation is important as repetition helps to solidify these skills.
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How To Get Occupational Therapy For Autism
There are a few ways to obtain occupational therapy for someone with autism. You can contact your childs school about acquiring an occupational therapist as many schools are required to provide occupational therapy to those who need it.
Otherwise, contact our local Physio Inq Occupational Therapy services to book a consultation with one of our expert occupational therapists. Our mobile services are a great way to utilise the benefits of occupational therapy while allowing the child to remain in an environment where they feel comfortable.
Sometimes, bringing someone with autism to a clinical setting can backfire as the unfamiliar stimuli can be too overwhelming. Thats why were happy to come to you and maximise the results of occupational therapy.
It cant be said enough how beneficial occupational therapy can be for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder. People living with autism go through a lot and occupational therapy can help to attain an overall better quality of life.
With a bit of effort, a structured approach, and the help of a supportive community of people, occupational therapy and committed caregivers can truly make a difference for children and adults with autism.
Developmental Individual Difference Relationship
3.12.1. Purpose of the technique
DIR®/Floortime is a framework for assessment and intervention that focuses on building social, emotional, and intellectual abilities . This framework seeks to assist children in creating an emotional foundation on which other skills can be encouraged to grow and develop. An important concept of this framework is that is does not seek to teach individual skills in isolation, but rather focuses on the child with ASD as a unique being that is capable of growth by establishing relationships and circles of communication within the environment .
3.12.2. Overview of the technique
According to Greenspan and Wieder , the DIR® Model was created by Dr. Stanley Greenspan in the 1980s. The model highlights the developmental, individual differences, and relationship-based components of emotional development in children. The developmental part of the model focuses specifically on the six identified developmental levels that are required for emotional health. These hierarchical levels include: self-regulation and interest in the world, engaging and relating, purposeful two-way communication, complex communication and problem-solving, using symbols and creating emotional ideas, and logical thinking and building bridges between ideas.
3.12.3. Review of literature
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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder/condition
Autism Spectrum Disorder / Condition is the term used to describe a range of conditions such as Autism, Asperger Syndrome and PDD . A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is less able to interact with the world around them than their peers. They may have difficulty in understanding and using language and will often find social interactions challenging.
Benefits Of Occupational Therapy For Autism
Occupational therapy for people with autism usually starts in the childhood years. When children with autism receive occupational therapy, they can improve in many of the skills that their disorder makes difficult.
The focus of occupational therapy for someone with autism is on independence. By introducing, maintaining, and improving certain skills, some of the benefits of occupational therapy for autism include improvements in:
Another huge benefit of occupational therapy for those with autism is the addition of sensory integration therapy. Most children with autism have issues processing sensory input. Theyre easily overwhelmed by sometimes the smallest stimuli so occupational therapists have tools to improve how they deal with this stimuli.
Sensory processing difficulties can present themselves as balance problems, body awareness issues, and oversensitivity to clothing, for example. To help, an occupational therapist might try sensory integration therapy techniques such as:
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How Occupational Therapists Work With Autistic Children
Typically, occupational therapists work with children who have autism spectrum disorder in school. They may work in the classroom or pull the child out to work with them one on one. In some cases, schools have “sensory rooms” where children can interact with indoor swings, balls, trampolines, and other equipment. In other cases, the therapist may bring along exercise balls, jump ropes, and other equipment. In addition, therapists may:
- Use techniques to help strengthen the child’s hands, legs, or core
- Provide tools such as a weighted vest or large pencil to improve focus and make certain tasks easier
- Work with the child in typical school settings such as recess, gym, art class, or music class
In some cases, particularly with very young children, therapists come to the child’s home. They may even work directly with parents, showing parents how to continue therapeutic intervention even when the therapist is not present.
What Areas Are Addressed In Occupational Therapy Treatment
Occupational therapy treatment encompasses several areas of performance. All treatment plans and therapy goals are created and implemented based on the child’s individual needs.
- Fine Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement and dexterity of the small muscles in the hands and fingers.
- Gross Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement of the large muscles in the arms, legs and trunk.
- Visual Motor Skills: Referring to a child’s movement based on the perception of visual information.
- Oral Motor Skills: Pertaining to movement of muscles in the mouth, lips, tongue and jaw, including sucking, biting, crunching, chewing and licking.
- Self-Care Skills: Pertaining to daily dressing, feeding and toileting tasks.
- Sensory Integration: The ability to take in, sort out and respond to the information we receive from the world.
- Motor Planning Skills: The ability to plan, implement and sequence motor tasks.
- Neuromotor Skills: Pertaining to the underlying building blocks of muscle strength, muscle tonicity, postural mechanisms and reflex integration.
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How Can Occupational Therapy Help A Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Our team of expert paediatric occupational therapists are skilled at working with children with ASD. We recognise that ASD affects each child and family differently and aim to provide a consultative approach to help children and families manage in everyday life.
Management strategies for home or school may be:
- Teaching parents and school staff how to identify a child’s strengths & weaknesses and to recognise early signs of distress
- Social stories to help teach the child how to act in certain situations such as initiating social communication with class mates
- Support in transitions such as starting school
- Sensory processing to identify difficulties and their impact on daily life, then provide strategies and treatment as needed
- Visual cues to support routines, and introduce new activities or a change in task.
- Introducing routines to provide structure, manage daily life and cope with changes in routine
- Physical skills to help develop strength and coordination and enable a child to participate in activities with their peers
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help overcome common difficulties associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page.
How we can help
We aim to solve the difficulties associated with Autism. Some of the common ones we treat are listed below.
Public sector, charities and businesses
Find out how we tailor our approach and services to your business or organisation.
The Role Of Sensory Integration Therapy
Before 2013, while occupational therapy was commonly offered to children with autism, sensory dysfunction was not part of the criteria for autism spectrum disorder. In 2013, with the publication of the DSM-5, new criteria were createdand sensory issues were added to the list of autism symptoms. The list of sensory issues now includes hyper- or hypo-reactivity to stimuli or unusual interests in stimuli . This change was due to the reality that the vast majority of people on the autism spectrum have and/or crave strong reactions to sensory input.
Until the change in criteria for autism, the field of Sensory Integration Therapy was struggling for general acceptance by the larger clinical community. Today, it is a more widely accepted form of therapy and may be offered even by occupational therapists who are not specifically trained as sensory integration specialists. According to the STAR Institute : “Sensory;Processing Disorder or;SPD is a neurological disorder in which the sensory information that the individual perceives results in abnormal responses.”
Sensory integration therapy uses a range of techniques such as swinging, brushing, jumping, pushing, squeezing, rolling, and exposure to selected sounds to help children with sensory processing issues to lessen their over-reaction to or need for intense physical sensation.
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Occupational Therapy And Autism
There are a number of ways in which occupation therapy benefit autistic children. Once the therapist has observed the childs behaviors and received information from those closest to the child, he or she can then develop a treatment plan to specifically work on each of the goals set for the client. Therapists will obviously vary, depending on the goals and needs of the child. However, some types of interventions are common with children on the autism spectrum. For example, play therapy can be used to model appropriate social interaction and communication. Hands-on developmental activities like brushing teeth and hair are often modeled and practiced to help children toward a sense of autonomy and accomplishment regarding his or her daily routine. Adaptive strategies are ones in which compensation of some type is made to assist children in overcoming difficulties. One example may be providing verbal prompts to prepare a child for upcoming transitions. These are just a few activities that have shown to help autistic children to navigate their world.
Ways Occupational Therapists Evaluate Asd
To evaluate a patient with autism, the OT may use screening tools such as an autism checklist, a sensory profile, the Childhood Autism Rating Scale , or diagnosis criteria set forth in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .;3 When observing the patient, an OT will consider the following skills:4,5
- Social: interactions with others, emotion regulation, behavior, desire for personal space, eye contact, aggression
- Communication: speech, non-verbal communication
- Sensory: responses to stimuli, sensory seeking, sensory defensiveness
- Motor: posture, balance, manipulation of small objects
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How Autism Affects Kids
ASP or Autism Spectrum Disorder affects a childs learning and development. Difficulties can include: memory, focus, time management, emotional control, frustration, and organization. A child with autism will not develop communication and language skills in the same order as other children. It will take longer to combine words, and a kid with autism will have difficulty socializing.
ASP is measured on a spectrum so the effects of autism can be widely different from mild to extremely intense. Once a parent suspects their child may have autism, they should get them the best resources to help their child thrive and learn like the professionals at TLC Pediatric Therapies.
Establish Motor Planning Skills
Motor planning is the ability for the mind and body to work together to perform a task or action and its;key to how we learn new skills. Its knowing which actions to take in the correct sequence in order to achieve the desired outcome. For instance, the steps required to get dressed or drive a car or write a word.
Motor planning problems are largely due to issues in processing sensory information. Being able to correctly process incoming sensory stimuli is essential in successfully planning and carrying out a particular task. Since many people on the spectrum experience sensory processing issues, its inevitable that motor planning function can be affected.
An OT can help improve motor planning by recommending activities that will improve general sensory processing skills . They can also help by setting tasks to encourage problem solving and practice motor planning skills.
Here are some of the activities we have undertaken over the years to establish motor planning skills:
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How Occupational Therapy Can Help Your Children With Autism
Health, Health Tips
Occupational therapy can help people improve their cognitive, physical, social, and motor skills. The goal is to enhance daily skills and make people more independent and participate in a wide range of activities. For people with autism, occupational therapy programs usually focus on game skills, learning strategies, and self-care. Occupational therapy strategies can also help control sensory problems.;
People with autism spectrum disorder often cannot communicate and interact with others. Their interests, activities, and skills are usually limited. Suppose your children have been diagnosed with autism. In that case, you need to try occupational therapy to help them develop skills at home and at school.;
The Role Of Occupational Therapy For Parents Of Children With Autism
Your childs occupational therapist might recommend that you participate in the therapy with your child. This can be beneficial so that you are on the same page as your child and his/her care provider. Playing an active part in your childs sessions will help you implement the therapy at home.
Karen Razon, an occupational therapist in Orlando, Florida, explained in her article published in Issue 74 of Autism Parenting Magazine that parents with high-stress levels might benefit from occupational therapy. Razon explains that occupational therapists view an emotionally-overwhelmed parent though a holistic pair of glasses. An occupational therapist can help parents improve their physical, emotional, spiritual, or social wellbeing. Whether it be helping parents find coping mechanisms that fit their family lifestyle, creating weekly routine that schedules spouse-time or alone-time while meeting their childs needs, or searching for local parental support groups, Razon says that occupational therapists can help parents find balance in their life . She suggests asking your childs occupational therapist for advice or a referral to an occupational therapist for yourself. A psychologist might also be an appropriate fit for some parents.
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Our Experience With Occupational Therapy
When our son J was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when he was four years old, we discovered just how sensitive he was to sound. We had known that loud sounds bothered him, but we didnt understand the extent of it. The school psychologist described it this way: the sound of a loud 747 jet taking off to us was equivalent to the sound of a loud flushing public toilet to him. That opened my eyes to just how sensitive his hearing was!
But we didnt know how to help him. She suggested that we have him evaluated by an occupational therapist. His pediatrician referred him to an occupational therapist at a nearby childrens hospital.
She evaluated him and developed a plan for him for both sessions with her and an at-home plan for us. Not only did we need to work on desensitizing his hearing, but he also was a bit off balance at times. She noted that he needed input to better regulate his vestibular system. One of the ways she suggested was having him swing for a certain amount of time per day. Luckily, J was really into swinging on our playset at that time, so he loved that part of the program!
A big part of his treatment plan was something called Therapeutic Listening®. He had these special headphones that had a broader range of sound than most, and he listened to specialized CDs twice a day that worked on his brain and hearing. It was amazing because between that and the other exercises she had assigned him, it worked!