The Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Autism

There are many types of therapy that can help with specific symptoms of Autism. One type of therapy that is often underlooked when it comes to treating ASD is occupational therapy (OT). In tandem with a solid ABA program, OT can have extremely beneficial effects on development.

OTs that specialize in helping children with ASD are able to evaluate the needs of a child and put a unique therapy program in place. Let’s take a look at what OTs do when it comes to helping those with autism.

Occupational Therapy & Autism

The first thing to go over is the skills that OTs can help individuals with autism learn. Skills OTs help with include:

  • Cognitive skills
  • Communication
  • Motor skills
  • Sensory skills
  • Social skills

Each of these skills has specific ‘sub-skills’ OTs focus on:

  • Cognitive Skills. Cognitive Skill training focuses on attention, mental stamina, and focus.
  • Communication. Communication training focuses on speech and nonverbal communication.
  • Motor Skills. Motor skill training focuses on balance, posture, and using objects/tools.
  • Sensory Skills. Sensory skill training focuses on responses to sensory stimuli and sensory defensiveness.
  • Social Skills. Social skill training focuses on emotional regulation, interacting with others, and behavior.

How Does Occupational Therapy for Autism Work?

Occupational therapy for autism is different from standard OT for several reasons. OTs with an autism-centered practice work with both clients and their families, making sure plans stick inside and outside of a clinical setting. OTs will help families understand any cognitive-behavioral approaches being used so they can continue at home.

Autism OTs emphasize mental health and well-being in order to make clients feel safe in the environment where therapy takes place. Occupational Therapy for autism often includes teaching self-care routines, so making clients feel safe both in the clinic and at home is essential for success.

Goals of OT for Autism

Like other autism therapy methods, OT focuses on helping a person with autism’s quality of life. The ultimate goal is giving clients as much independence as possible. The areas of life OT therapy for autism focuses on include:

  • Independent communication
  • Working with others
  • Listening
  • Gratification and delayed gratification for completing tasks
  • Expressing feelings and emotions to others
  • Creating and maintaining friendships and other relationships

While the goals of OT may seem to line up with the goals for most autism therapies, OTs are able to combine their occupation therapy training with ABA or cognitive behavioral training to create an occupational program perfectly suited to the needs of a person with autism.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.