The Role of OT in Autism
Imagine you wake up one morning and the typically tolerable sunlight feels like a spotlight aimed directly at your pupils. You raise your head and jackhammer at the end of the block feels like it's is in the room. Your feet hit the floor but the ground starts to move. As you walk to the bathroom, you're overwhelmed by the leftover pizza in the kitchen. Your toothpaste tastes awful, the water is boiling and the tap hits the sink with the sound of a waterfall. Concentrating on what to do next is excruciating and you're in overdrive! Welcome to Autism.
As an Occupational Therapist (OT) who's spent considerable time with children who experience hypersensitivities like the ones described above, I think it's appropriate to highlight the role that Occupational therapists plays in the treatment of Autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder in which the brain does not function properly. It is characterized by difficulties with communication, social interactions, sensory processing and a tendency to repeat specific patterns of behaviour.
Recent reports from Autism Speaks Canada suggest that ASD is now the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada. Identified that 1 in 68 children as having ASD, approximately 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
The growing prevalence of ASD has significantly influenced the demand for OT services, making us an essential component of the treatment team. We are professionals that focus on enhancing participation in day- to- day life through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.
We help people with ASD by adjusting tasks and conditions to match their needs and abilities. Such help may come in the form of modifying the environment to minimize distractions, finding alternative means to facilitate communication, or further developing functional skills. For instance a therapist might work with an individual to develop strategies for processing intolerable sensory experiences, help to develop social skills through scripted conversations, or teach fine motor skills that help a person get dressed.
We offer a unique and comprehensive perspective in the treatment of persons with ASD. Our intervention extends beyond the clinic and we analyze a person in the context of their environment, community and society as a whole.
Occupational Therapist are devoted to not only investigating the root of an individual's challenges but strive to understand it's implications in all aspects of a person's life.