How Occupational Therapy can help children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (autism)
Occupational Therapy can support children and adults with autism to improve how they communicate, play and relate to others.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder, or autism, is a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties with communication and social interaction, and restricted or repetitive behaviours, interests and activities (including sensory processing issues).
Autism is sometimes accompanied by other forms of disability, including intellectual and learning impairments.
While autism is a lifelong condition, allied health professionals such as Occupational Therapists can help people with autism develop new skills and adapt their environment to improve their everyday functioning at home, in school and the community.*
* Information about autism from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website
How do Occupational Therapists work with people on the autism spectrum?
Our Occupational Therapists are experienced in working with people on the autism spectrum. We’re skilled at assessing skill levels in developmental areas, and identifying the barriers that keep participants from being independent and engaging in meaningful activities.
Working as part of a team, with parents, teachers, family members and other health professionals, our therapists work one-on-one with the child or adult to review areas such as motor skills, sensory processing, emotional regulation, cognitive skills, and interactions with caregivers and others, to determine the level of support they need.
Our therapists can work with people in the comfort of their home, or in one of our many offices situated around Australia. We can also provide services in schools, workplaces or even via telehealth for your convenience.
Following the assessment, we develop a tailored program that includes goals and strategies for helping our participants overcome their challenges. Goals may include dressing independently and other self-care tasks, fine motor skills needed for writing, and engaging in school or work tasks, meal preparation, and accessing and participating in the community.
Our therapists also help the person with autism, their parents or carers, and family to develop and practice these skills outside of therapy sessions, at home or at school, so they can participate in the activities of their daily life.
The participant’s goals are monitored, reviewed and modified as the person progresses.
What are the benefits for people with autism?
Occupational Therapy can make enormous improvements to a person’s everyday life. We aim to help people cope better with daily life by improving communication and learning at school and work, improving play and interactions with others, and minimising repetitive behaviours. We also find ways to support a person’s sensory processing needs by developing individual sensory diets and strategies.
The types of real-life, everyday skills that can be developed through Occupational Therapy include:
- Daily living skills such as personal care, and the instrumental activities of daily living, such as meal prep, cooking, cleaning, shopping and money management
- Communication and social skills, such as taking turns, engaging in cooperative activities, sportsmanship, and engaging in social clues
- Gross motor skills such as balance, postural control, coordination and ball skills
- Fine motor skills used for handwriting, buttoning, using cutlery, and manipulating small, everyday objects
- Sensory processing skills to decrease the impact of high sensitivities and seeking behaviours
- Cognitive functions such as problem solving, impulse control, memory and attention
- Self help
Learning all of these skills through Occupational Therapy can help with developing better self-esteem, confidence, and independence.
If you would like further information or to speak to us, please contact our friendly concierge service on 1800 238 958 or complete the request contact from and we will contact you at a time that suits you best.