Currently, no treatment has shown that it can cure autism spectrum disorder, but you may find several interventions. These interventions have been studied and developed for use in young kids. They can improve cognitive ability, reduce symptoms, maximize the ability of your child to participate and function in the community, and improve daily living skills.
But the differences in how autism spectrum disorder can affect each person means that individuals with autism spectrum disorder have specific challenges and strengths in behavior, social communication, and cognitive ability. So treatment plans can be multidisciplinary, meaning they can involve parent-mediated intervention, and focus on the child’s needs. This post discusses the key benefits of therapy for autism.
Many intervention strategies usually focus on the development of social communication skills, especially for children at young ages. These children naturally gain these skills and decrease restricted repetitive and challenging behavior as well as interests.
For some kids, occupational and speech therapy can be helpful, as can social skills training and medication in older kids. The best intervention or treatment may vary depending on a person’s age, challenges, strengths, and differences.
It is also important to note that children with autism spectrum disorder can get injured or sick just like kids without autism spectrum disorder. So regular dental and medical exams need to be part of a kid’s treatment plan. Quite often, it can be hard to know if a child’s behavior is associated with the autism spectrum disorder or is due to a separate health condition.
For example, when a child bangs their heads, it can be a symptom of autism spectrum disorder, or it can be a symptom the kid is having ear aches or headaches. In such cases, there is a need for a thorough physical examination. Monitoring healthy development can mean checking for symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder and the kid’s mental and physical health.
Unfortunately, there is little knowledge about the most suitable interventions for adults and older children with an autism spectrum disorder. While there has been some research focusing on social skills groups for older kids, there is little evidence to indicate that they are effective. Read here to understand autism therapies.
There is a need for additional research to evaluate interventions that are designed to improve results in adulthood. Aside from this, services are crucial to help people with autism spectrum disorder complete their job training or education, find jobs, find housing and transportation, improve daily functioning, take care of their health, and participate in their communities.
Benefits of occupational therapy
An individual with autism spectrum disorder usually has problems interacting and communicating with other people because their activities, play skills, and interests can be limited. This is where occupational therapy comes in handy as it can assist people with autism spectrum disorder develop skills in school and at home.
Keep in mind that occupational therapists human development and growth and an individual’s interaction with the environment by doing activities daily. Simply put, they are experts in the emotional, social, and even physiological effects of injury and illness. With this knowledge, they can improve skills to help people with autism live independent lives.
Occupational therapists are part of the team that includes teachers, parents, and other professionals. They can work as a team to create specific goals for the individual with an autism spectrum disorder. These goals can involve behavior, social interaction, and classroom performance. So occupational therapists can help in evaluation and therapy.
Therapists usually observe kids so that they may find out if they can do the activities they are expected to perform at their ages. For example, they can observe if they can play a game or get dressed. Sometimes, the therapists can have the kid videotaped during the day so that they can see how the kid interacts with the environment. In this way, the therapist can assess the type of care the kid needs.
The therapist may take note of the transition to new tasks, attention span, and stamina, play skills, motor skills like balance and posture, need for personal space, responses to types of stimuli like touch, and many others.
When occupational therapists get all the information, they can make a program for the child. While there is no single suitable treatment program, autism experts believe that structured, early, and individualized care can work best.
Occupational therapy may include several strategies to help your kid respond well to their environment. These strategies can involve physical activities like doing puzzles or stringing beads, to assist your kid to develop body awareness and coordination.
Also, they may include playing activities to assist with communication and interaction, developmental activities like combing hair and brushing teeth, and adaptive strategies that include coping with transitions.
As you can see, there are various benefits a person with autism can have through occupational therapy. After all, the overall aim of occupational therapy is to help people with autism spectrum disorder improve the quality of life in school and at home. So the therapist helps to introduce, maintain, and improve skills so that individuals with autism spectrum disorder can be as independent as possible.
Some of the skills occupational therapists may encourage include daily living skills like dressing, toilet training, brushing teeth, and many other grooming skills. They may also foster fine motor skills needed for holding items while cutting with scissors or handwriting.
Gross motor skills are also ideal for climbing stairs, walking, or riding a bike. Other skills they may promote are awareness skills, posture, sitting, or perceptual skills.
A child with autism spectrum disorder needs to work on these skills while on occupational therapy. In this way, they can develop adult and peer relationships, learn how to hold gratification, learn how to focus on activities, engage in play with friends, express feelings in the right way, and learn how they can self-regulate.
Keep in mind that children with an autism spectrum disorder, attention issues, or social behavior, can be partly due to sensory challenges. Therefore, it makes sense to try also other types of therapies, such as sensory integration therapy.