Autism Spectrum Disorders
The American Occupational Therapy Association defines Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) as, “a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.” There are three types of disorders typically included within the Autism spectrum:
- Autistic Disorder (also called “classic” autism): This is what most people think of when hearing the word “autism.” People with autistic disorder usually have significant language delays, social and communication challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with autistic disorder also have an intellectual disability.
- Asperger Syndrome: People with Asperger syndrome usually have milder symptoms of autistic disorder. They might have social challenges and unusual behaviors and interests. However, they typically do not have delays with language or intellectual disability.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PPD-NOS; also called “atypical autism”): People who meet some of the criteria for autistic disorder or Asperger syndrome, but not all, can be diagnosed with PDD-NOS. People with PDD-NOS usually have fewer and milder symptoms than those with autistic disorder. For example, they may have only a social impairment.
Children with ASDs can benefit from occupational therapy to help them learn and practice the physical, mental, and cognitive skills needed to actively participate in daily activities and programs. Pediatric occupational therapy helps children with ASDs by:
- Evaluate the individual’s skills and level of functioning in activities and contexts relevant and meaningful to the individual.
- Assess the individual’s strengths and areas for improvement that should be addressed through intervention.
- Identify the impact of ASD on the individual’s functioning and ability to carry out relevant daily life activities and occupations.
- Provide individualized therapy services that are tailored to the person’s identified areas of need and that maximize the individual’s skills and performance.
- Support the individual and their family members in coping with the challenges of living with ASD.
- Adapt or modify activities, environments, and contexts to support performance and participation in everyday life situations and settings.
- Collaborate with the client, family members, other service providers and other key people in the individual’s life to ensure that services are focused on meaningful and relevant occupations and contexts.
If your child has been diagnosed with an ASD, we can help them learn the skills and tools needed to progress forward with daily activities. Our pediatric occupational therapists are highly-trained specialists that will establish a one to one relationship and course of treatment that will help your child achieve their goals. Call us today to find out more about pediatric occupational therapy and its benefits for children with ASDs.