The term Occupational therapy has been used a lot in the recent past in reference to autism and sensory development. In short occupational therapy is a process which promotes, develops and helps improve skills needed for those diagnosed with autism. The procedure is usually carried with children who have been diagnosed early.
Early detection helps reduce the complications and enables children to live a normal life as they are trained and taught to live with the diagnosis. While the level of severity changes there are procedures within the therapy that help tackle the illness the best way possible. Here are some ways in which occupational therapy helps.
Easing sensory overload
We often see children with autism throwing tantrums, crying or even getting angry. While we think this is a sign of distress behaviour it maybe due to the sensory overload they are experiencing. Unlike how a normal brain functions those with autism have a harder time releasing what they feel.
This build up is the sensory overload and can make the feel frustrated or tired. When carrying our OT for ASD children are taught how to release and control emotions in a healthy way. Different strategies based on each individual’s condition can help calming them and relieving them of nerves and anxiety.
It promotes self-care
While this is not your typical self-care, occupational therapy helps children or even adults with basic needs ranging from washing, dressing and the usual hygiene process of brushing teeth and hair. The degree of autism can impair an individual’s ability to carry out these basic tasks so the therapy helps teach and train them to do so. This is why an early diagnosis can be helpful so that this type of training can start at an early age.
Emotional regulation, organizational and social skills are another attribute to occupational therapy. This is where sensory development comes into play. Here children are taught basic skills such as handwriting and drawing.
They are also allowed to mingle with others and have conversations helping them feel comfortable in social gatherings as anxiety usually takes over at this point. They are taught to identify others behaviour and even know how and when to be alert to danger. They are taught who to be friends with and understand body language of those to stay away from.
Helping them enjoy life
Those with autism can live a very normal life depending on the severity of it. Although there are certain limitations they are still able to participate and enjoy leisure activities around them. Playing certain sports can be helpful for their mental health and provide further guidance to regulating their emotions. Other activities such as playing or building with Lego help develop fine motor skills which are a huge lack in those with autism.
The earlier the therapy starts the better so it is highly advisable to diagnose autism as early as possible in either your child or those around you if needed.