The benefits of occupational therapy for teenagers with autism

OT or occupational therapy for teenagers with autism is a recommended method of helping curb the negative effects of the disorder. OT helps those with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) better cope with everyday tasks, social endeavours and tasks they perform at school or work.

Professional disability support service Youth Living Skills offers occupational therapy for teenagers and understands the importance of OT in improving the lives and independence of ASD sufferers. It is particularly important during the developmental stages that teens go through, which are hard enough without also being a victim of ASD.

The successful implementation of occupational therapy for teenagers can help those with ASD overcome challenges and improve their overall quality of life during these formative years. Let’s take a look at why occupational therapy for teenagers with autism is so useful.

The role of OT for ASD

OT covers the study of human development and growth over the years. These therapists are professionals in assessing the emotional, social and physiological ramifications of injury and illness in patients.

This knowledge backs up the skills they use for promoting the independent lifestyle of ASD sufferers. OT’s work in a team that involves parents, caretakers, teachers and other invested parties.

They are able to help ASD sufferers plan, work towards and accomplish specific short and long terms goals. These goals will normally have something to do with academic, work or social milestones the patient desires to achieve.

For example, occupational therapy for teenagers might involve becoming more independent so that they can catch public transport by themselves, get a drivers licence or do better in a school exam.

How do OT’s evaluate ASD?

The OT’s are able to observe ASD sufferers to evaluate if they can perform the tasks non-sufferers can accomplish at the same age. This can often be related to certain skills associated with interdependence, like getting dressed or preparing food.

It can sometimes be useful to take visual footage of the child to give the OT’s a detailed picture of what kind of treatment will be required. The OT’s will be able to, from the footage, make some determinations about the child including:

  • Their stamina and attention span
  • How they transition between activities
  • How they play or recreate
  • The importance they place on personal space
  • Their response to stimuli like touch
  • They ability to use fine motor skills, such as manipulating objects, posturing and balancing
  • Any levels of aggression and frustration
  • Their interactions with carers

How does OT assist children with ASD?

Once the OT’s have gathered the necessary information they will be able to develop a program. The earlier the care is planned, structured and executed the better the results of occupational therapy for teenagers will be.

Occupational therapy for teenagers with autism combines a range of different strategies. These tactics work to help the child have better responses to their environment, including:

  • Puzzles and other physical activities that help develop hand-eye coordination as well as body awareness
  • Recreation activities that develop interests, communication and interaction
  • Self-care activities like brushing teeth or combing hair
  • Coping with transitions and other adaptive tactics

What are the key benefits of occupational therapy for teenagers with autism?

The primary goal of OT is to assist the individual improve their overall quality of life in home, school and work environments. The OT’s are there to introduce, improve and maintain the necessary skills to cope with the challenges of life so that ASD sufferers can be as independent as possible.

Occupational therapy for teenagers with autism helps them to integrate themselves as functioning members of society as well as being able to take care of themselves. The outcomes of OT for those with ASD are significant and backed up by a wide range of study.