Occupational therapists are privileged to help people with their daily activities or occupations. They work with all ages by helping to promote their health and well-being. With regard to children with autism, as you know, each program will be customized. However, the goal is the same: to help children with their everyday activities. This can include helping them with self-care, sensory needs, learning how to be independent, and learning how to take part in family activities.
Occupational therapists take in the whole picture when working with children who have autism with the goal of helping children lead happy and healthy lives. ACES offers occupational therapy at some of our many locations. We believe in offering parents and children on the autism spectrum every tool to reach their potential in life. Contact one of our locations to learn more today!
How Occupational Therapy Can Help Children With Autism
- Helping develop play skills
- Helping gain independence with daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth or dressing
- Helping with sensory inputs that are triggers by using weighted blankets, noise-cancelling headphones, and more
- Helping develop a sense of safety
- Helping develop their food palate
- Helping develop a sense of boundaries
- And so much more
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Many people don't have a clear idea of what an occupational therapist does or is. Because the word "occupation" is in the name, many people think that this is rehabilitative therapy for job-related injuries. However, the name occupational therapist refers to the idea of getting help from a trained professional in order to accomplish health challenges that arise from everyday life, or from your occupation of living. It's the idea of solving your problems so that you can do the activities you want to do in life. This means that occupational therapists work with people of all ages, from the smallest children to the oldest adults. For children and adults impacted by autism, occupational therapy focuses on many challenges they face on a daily basis to not only foster independence, but also to take the sometimes onerous care off the family as well.
What Occupational Therapy Looks Like For Children With Autism
- Evaluation or assessment. When you partner with ACES for occupational therapy service for your child who has been diagnosed with a condition on the autism spectrum, the very first thing we do is perform an assessment. This will show us your child's strengths and weaknesses, as compared to other children their age, give us a good idea of what your child is struggling with, and allow us to prioritize treatments as well, taking into consideration your needs, too.
- Formation of treatment plan. Once the evaluation has been completed and the occupational therapist has a good idea of your child's needs and where they are at currently, a plan will be developed that will help your child modify, regain, adapt, or gain the skills they are missing. Limitations will be considered, which is why every occupational treatment plan is different for every child.
- Implementation. Treatment will begin. It's important to remember that this is a fluid process, meaning that evaluation of your child will be on-going, and as your child reaches certain milestones or goals, your child's treatment plan can change and adapt accordingly. With the goal of ensuring your child is always making progress, you can think of treatment plans as a North Star and your occupational therapist as the navigator at the helm of the ship, responsible for steering, turning, and riding out any storms that may arise.
Occupational Therapy And Sensory Concerns
Sensory issues are behind a lot of those children who have been diagnosed with a condition on the autism spectrum. Sensory issues are those that have to do with sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, balance, and body position. Any issue with one of these can greatly affect a child with autism's ability to do daily activities, such as dress themselves, hold conversations, and handle school activities. For those of us who have no problems performing these automatic tasks, it's extremely difficult for us to understand and correct these problems in children with autism. However, the occupational therapists at ACES have years of training using sensory integration approaches that can help both the child impacted by autism and their family acquire these skills that most of us take for granted.
Since children with autism have different areas and conditions they need help with, it can seem overwhelming when entering autism treatment plans, both for the child and for the parent. With so many conditions and issues to treat, where does one start?
Occupational therapists take a holistic approach to your child's individualized treatment plan so that they can have the greatest impact on your child. While at times it may appear like your child is taking a step backwards, you can rest assured that your child is processing information at their own pace, and as long as work is continually being done, you will see results. Challenges will arise, but, so too will victories on this long journey. The therapists work exceedingly hard to make their work fun and enjoyable for your child, using play-based models as much as possible so that your child is motivated to work hard and succeed, even when they don't even realize they are working! By providing you and your child with the tools they need, the sky will truly be the limit.
Choose Aces For All Your Child's Needs Todays
Here at ACES we understand that you and your child who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder will have good days and bad days — and we're here throughout them all. We offer wonderful support networks for parents who are struggling so they can receive the hope and encouragement they need during the difficult times. You can rest assured that the activities, drills, and other treatments, even play, will all work together in order to produce the most favorable outcome for you and your child.
ACES has locations in many Western states, including Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Hawaii. Our mission is to come alongside those who have been impacted by autism to offer a great life. We recognize that it will be hard work to achieve the goals you desire for your child. However, with our compassionate staff, all of whom have years of experience working with children with autism as well as certifications and stellar degrees in education, our team is up to the job. Without a talented team, results are just not possible.
If you are interested in partnering with ACES for occupational therapy, or any other of our autism treatments, give us a call to get started today!