Treatment for autism can take years and may be provided by a number of professionals, including speech, physical, and occupational therapists. Their jobs can be categorized into evaluation (assessing the extent of the disorder) and therapy (actual treatment). The goal of treatment is to help develop a child’s skills for independent living.
Occupational therapy methods may help uncover vital information about a child’s developmental progress and abilities, such as attention span, stamina, and responses to different kinds of stimuli. Understanding where the child is in terms of his or her development will help the therapist develop an effective treatment plan.
The therapist may adopt certain strategies depending on the child’s needs. For example, he or she can engage the child in certain activities to help improve coordination and body awareness. These strategies may also be useful in improving the child’s communication skills and ability to interact with other children.
By the end of therapy, parents may expect their child to have developed the necessary skills to independently and safely perform daily living activities. For instance, occupational therapy may help develop fine motor skills that would enable the child to safely handle objects, including potentially hazardous ones like scissors. Occupational therapy, therefore, plays a vital role in the treatment of children with autism.