Occupational therapy aims to enable people to live their everyday lives. In the case of autistic children, it can help them develop the skills to cope both at school and at home. When combined with support from other experts, it provides an opportunity for autistic children to achieve the same successes as children without autism.
The range of behaviours and characteristics that define autism come under the heading of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is because autism manifests differently in different individuals. There are, however, some common traits associated with autism. These include difficulties with communication and social interaction as well as sensory issues. There is no cure, but that does not mean an autistic person cannot lead a fulfilling life. They may just need a little extra support.
Signs of autism generally start to appear when a child is around two, though it is possible not to be diagnosed until adulthood. Estimates suggest there are between one and two autistic individuals in every 1,000 people around the world. Diagnosis is becoming more common, though it is unclear whether this is because autism is becoming more frequent or it is simply that the signs are becoming more recognisable. Similarly, boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls but this may be because autism in girls often manifests differently. The earlier a child is diagnosed, the more likely they will be able to access support.
Autism and occupational therapy
An occupational therapist may coordinate with teachers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and speech therapists and parents. The therapist will assess the child’s abilities and identify the areas where they may benefit from occupational therapy. Programmes run through occupational health Cardiff, for instance, will vary depending upon the child. The therapist will then monitor whether the therapy is effective. Occupational therapists are available around the country and for additional information, occupational health Cardiff is a good place to start.
Areas involved in occupational therapy may include speech, language and communication skills, as well as lessons in social interaction. Occupational therapy may also include sessions on sensory integration, motor skill training and cognitive therapy. An occupational therapist can teach a child the skills necessary to manage different situations, such as self-care, school and play. They may also suggest potential environmental adaptations that could be made to make the child’s life easier.