April 23, 2013

news-autism-occupational-therapy-04-2013Did you know — according to Autism Speaks — that the prevalence rates of Autism have increased 10 to 17 percent annually in the last few years?

Research has shown that the increase is not only due to improved diagnosis and awareness, but also genetic and environmental factors.

As occupational therapists, we often work with children with autism and help others see the unique ways that these special children see the world. We are also committed to helping children with autism adapt to their environments while helping to educate others on how to best interact with a child with autism.

While occupational therapists often focus on activities of daily living (dressing, grooming, toileting, and other self-care tasks), we also help children with autism overcome their sensory issues.

The ability to sensory regulate is one of the most common challenges facing children with autism. Sensory issues can include sensitivities to touch, sound and sight, as well as movement and balance issues that affect attention, language and posture, among other things.

During therapy, the occupational therapist works with the child to improve fine motor skills, bilateral coordination (using both sides of the body at the same time), grasp patterns (holding different objects), and other skills required for functional activities.

By using a variety of activities that involve the different senses and modifying the therapy techniques, occupational therapists can help improve a child’s attention and focus. And the real joy comes from helping children with autism come out of their shells and engage with others.

~ Anna Shveima, OTR
Occupational Therapy Supervisor — Dallas