What is Autism Spectrum Disorder/Condition (ASD/ASC)?
Autism Spectrum Disorder / Condition is the term used to describe a range of conditions such as Autism, Asperger Syndrome and PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). A child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is less able to interact with the world around them than their peers. They may have difficulty in understanding and using language and will often find social interactions challenging.
How would I know if my child has Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The way that Autism or ASD presents itself will vary from child to child. Below are a few of the common signs that would warrant further investigation.
- Difficulties in developing and maintaining relationships
- Limited interest in play
- Difficulty with imaginative play
- Repetitive speech or movements such as hand flapping
- A strong desire for routine and rules
- Does not initiate conversation with others
- A preference for solitary play
- Impulsive or aggressive behaviour
- A reluctance to make eye contact
- Delayed speech
- Poor understanding of instructions, questions or jokes
How can occupational therapy help a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Our team of expert paediatric occupational therapists are skilled at working with children with ASD. We recognise that ASD affects each child and family differently and aim to provide a consultative approach to help children and families manage in everyday life.
Management strategies for home or school may be:
- Teaching parents and school staff how to identify a child's strengths & weaknesses and to recognise early signs of distress
- Social stories to help teach the child how to act in certain situations such as initiating social communication with class mates
- Support in transitions such as starting school
- Sensory processing to identify difficulties and their impact on daily life, then provide strategies and treatment as needed
- Visual cues to support routines, and introduce new activities or a change in task.
- Introducing routines to provide structure, manage daily life and cope with changes in routine
- Physical skills to help develop strength and coordination and enable a child to participate in activities with their peers
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help overcome common difficulties associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page.