What is Occupational Therapy and Why is It Important for Children with Autism Spectrum
As every research and study suggests, there is no cure for Autism. However, with timely (early) intervention and the right kinds of therapy, an autistic individual should be able to develop and improve numerous skills, which are basic but relatively tough for Autistic individuals.
The Importance of Therapy
Almost every autistic child is found to require support and therapy which is almost the only way to help establish and improve sensory, psychological, emotional, and physical function and response. In simple words, the whole point of therapy (and combinations of therapy) is to help autistic children understand and respond to a great extent so they eventually develop the ability to do simple, everyday things, independently.(Or almost independently)
What is OT?
Occupation therapy focusses mainly on cognitive, sensory and physical disabilities. By addressing these areas, Occupational Therapy will gradually help children do simple, daily activities such as washing themselves and getting dressed up, putting on shoes and socks, and eating, which they otherwise find challenging or impossible to do (depending on the severity of their condition).
Not all autistic children are the same in terms of the difficulties they have and the level of support they require. This means that there can be two Autistic children who have similar difficulties (as doing basic activities like combing hair and putting on clothes), but require different levels of support, basedon their level of difficulty, and different approaches based on their interests. Thus, an occupational therapist would do a thorough study on the child to come up with a plan or program that involves the right elements, steps, practices which will work best and be most effective.
Why is OT Important?
As explained above, the reason Autistic children find it difficult or impossible to do the most basic activities is because they have problems related to sensory, cognitive, and physical aspects, and their coordination – which in a nutshell, are key vital aspects to lead a normal life. Occupational Therapy helps improve sensory, cognitive, and physical function and coordination, which solves the major part of the problem in an Autistic child.
With the right approach and carefully designed activities/practices, a child with Autism is gradually brought to a point where he or she becomes more and more able to do essential basic activitieson his own without having to depend on someone. They also develop certain essential skills that make it easier for them to get along in social environments.
How it is Done?
As explained above, approaches used by the therapist can vary from one child to another. Generally, however, an occupational therapist willuse numerous exercises to help improve sensory-physical coordination.
If required, they will choose to use specific special, equipment like a wheelchair or hearing aids for instance, that will provide additional support in the learning and development process. It is vital that you dedicate time and effort to seek qualified, professional experts who will come up with the best possible (specifically designed) program for your child to support learning anddevelopment.