What is Autism?

Autism is a developmental disorder—typically diagnosed around age 3 years— that affects brain functions, specifically those areas that control social behaviors and communication skills.

How does an Occupational Therapist help Individuals with Autism?

Occupational therapy services focus on enhancing participation in the performance of activities of daily living (e.g., feeding, dressing), instrumental activities of daily living (e.g., community mobility, safety procedures), education, work, leisure, play, and social participation.  Occupational therapy services focuses on personal development, quality of life, and the needs of the family. The occupational therapy evaluation process is designed to gain an understanding of the individual’s skills—his or her strengths and challenges while engaging in daily activities (occupations).

What Can Occupational Therapy Practitioners Do for People with Autism?

  • Evaluate an individual to determine whether the child is performing ADLs and IADLs such as grooming, play and leisure skills at age appropriate level.
  • Provide interventions to help an individual respond to information coming through the senses. Intervention may include developmental activities, sensory integration or sensory processing, and play activities.
  • Facilitate play activities that instruct as well as aid a child in interacting and communicating with others.
  • Develop strategies to help the individual transition from one setting to another, from one person to another, and from one life phase to another.
  • Identify, develop, or adapt work and other daily activities that are significant to individual to improve quality of life.