How occupational therapy can assist in managing autism

Occupational therapy is a versatile treatment modality that can help people of all ages with all sorts of functional limitations. Individuals with autism can often benefit from occupational therapy. Children with autism may be referred through an early intervention program. If you or a family member has autism, you can find the high-quality, individualized occupational therapy you’re looking for at Regional Medical Center of San Jose.

Autism-related challenges
Autism affects individuals in different ways and to different degrees. Some of the common challenges include:

  • Communication
  • Play skills
  • Social participation
  • Self-care activities
  • Transitions
  • Sensory stimulation

In daily life, people with autism may struggle to interact with their peers, adjust to changes in their routines or have trouble doing simple care tasks, such as tasks pertaining to nutrition or oral hygiene. With intensive therapy begun early in life, children with autism can overcome many of their challenges. One component of an early intervention plan can be occupational therapy .

Occupational therapy goals
The primary goals of occupational therapy are to improve quality of life, enhance the individual’s functional abilities and support the family. Specific, short-term goals are dependent upon each child’s unique needs and level of functioning.

Before planning any interventions, an occupational therapist will make extensive observations of the child, and interview the child’s family members and caregivers. The following areas are typically evaluated to inform the treatment planning process:

  • Motor skills
  • Behavioral issues
  • Interactions
  • Transition ability
  • Responses to external stimuli
  • Attention span

Occupational therapy interventions
Occupational therapists can use a range of strategies to help individuals with autism. Sensory-based activities can help the child moderate responses to sensory stimuli, for example.

Occupational therapists can also guide clients through play activities designed to improve communication and social skills, developmental activities like brushing teeth and physical activities to improve motor skills and body awareness.

Regional Medical Center of San Jose is a leading provider of rehabilitation services, including occupational therapy, pediatric occupational therapy and activities of daily living retraining. It’s our mission to provide superior care and support because the quality of life of our neighbors in San Jose is important to us. Call a registered nurse at (888) 762-8881.

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