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Occupational Therapy For Autism

autism occupational therapy ot Feb 01, 2022

Individuals with autism often have difficulties with social and communication skills. Many children with autism have different ways of learning, playing and communicating.

Occupational Therapy can help individuals with autism to navigate their environments, increase independence and/or participation in daily activities.


What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people of all ages who have physical, behavioral, sensory, or cognitive problems. OT helps to improve independence and participation across environments.

“Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.” (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2021)

How can Occupational Therapy help an individual with Autism?

For individuals with autism, OT treatment focuses on improving participation and independence in different skill areas. An OT evaluation will determine which skills areas that treatment will focus on. Based on evaluation, the Occupational Therapist will set goals for your child to work on during treatment.

Some examples of skills that OT works on are:

  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Sensory Modulation
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Emotional Regulation and Self-Regulation Skills
  • Handwriting
  • Cutting
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Care such as dressing, using the bathroom, brushing teeth
  • Working with adolescents to prepare to enter the workforce through working on job skills

OT sessions are typically 30 minutes long. The number of sessions per week will vary based on the needs of the individual. OT sessions can take place in school, at home, in the community or in a private clinic.

How to Find an Occupational Therapist

For OT services in school, contact your child’s school. You can speak with your child’s teacher, a school psychologist, or the Special Education Director-any one of these people should be able to point you in the right direction. The school can set your child up to receive an occupational therapy evaluation.

For OT services outside of the school environment, talk to your child’s doctor and they can refer you to a specialist.

Is Occupational Therapy (OT) covered by insurance?

OT is typically covered by health insurance. Speak with your child’s doctor to find out more. Your child’s doctor may need to provide a prescription for therapy, or state that it is medically necessary for health insurance to provide coverage.

In a school setting, OT is provided through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This service is provided through the school at no cost to families.

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