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How Occupational Therapy Can Help Children with Autism

Updated on October 12, 2013

It is every parent’s wish for his or her children to become normal – physically, emotionally, and mentally. However, it is inevitable that some cases of abnormality will occur to them, such as autism.

Autism is one of the most widely known conditions that a child can have. A child that suffers this kind of condition has a difficulty to communicate or to interact with other people. He will not be able to understand body languages and cannot hold longer conversations. He has limited interests, activities, and play skills. Other symptoms may include overly delays in learning languages or repeating of actions.

In their early growth, these symptoms can already be seen. Usually, children with severe autism are detected when they reached the age 3 while milder forms of autism cannot be detected earlier. These forms of autism may be recognized when their difficulty to interact other people can already affect their studies

Over the years, experts developed ways to treat autism. There are many choices available choose from in order to treat such disorder. Yet, the treatment still depends as to what the child needs.

One of the common ways to aid the child with autism is by Occupational Therapy.


What is an Occupational Therapy?

"Skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational therapy assists people in developing the 'skills for the job of living' necessary for independent and satisfying lives,” a description according to American Occupational Therapy Association. Occupational therapists help people trying to do their everyday tasks.

The role of Occupational Therapy to treat autism

Occupational therapists are experts when it comes to understanding the effects of illness in physical, social, and emotional aspect of a child. They have studied the growth and development of human and their interactions with the environment. Thus, this knowledge can help them encourage children with disorders to work on their own.

How can Occupational Therapy help children with autism?

Due to sensory processing difficulties, children with autism can hardly perform their everyday task such as dressing up, eating, going to the toilet, sleeping and spending time with others. Later on, they will develop physical activities such as running, climbing and jumping. That is why it is important for a child with autism to undergo Occupational Therapy in order to attend their needs and help them gradually learn the basic works they need to learn.

The occupational therapists will gather information about the child’s disorder. Once he is done, he can now develop program to attend the child’s treatment. There is no particular program. However,it is proved that an early, structured, and individualized care will work best.


Some of the strategies include the following:

  • Physical activities to help develop the child’s coordination and body awareness
  • Interactive activities to help communication and interaction
  • Developmental activities such as brushing the teeth
  • Adaptive strategies including dealing with changes

The overall purpose of occupational therapy is to make the every life of someone with autism get better and more functional.


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