If your child has been diagnosed with autism, your doctor may recommend pediatric occupational therapy starting at a young age. Starting treatment early gives your child a better chance of doing well in school. Your child may need occupational therapy as they get older too so they can learn to adapt to their changing bodies and daily activities. By having this structure and training during childhood, your child may have an easier time transitioning into adulthood and independent living. Here's how occupational therapy might help your child.
It Starts With An Evaluation
The first step is to have your child evaluated by an occupational therapist. Each child with autism is different, so there is no one standard type of treatment. Instead, your child is observed so weaknesses and strengths are identified. Then, a custom care plan can be developed that's tailored to your child's needs. Areas the therapist may look at include social development, motor skill development, and sensory processing ability.
Treatments Are Usually Fun Games
Your child has to participate in the treatments for them to be effective and a good way to do that is to make them fun. Things like playing with toys or playing on playground equipment can develop large and fine motor skills. While much of the treatment time may be spent playing games that target various areas of development, other treatments may be given that focus on learning self-care or sensory integration. Your child might wear a weighted vest, practice tooth brushing, get a massage, or do physical therapy exercises. Your child may have therapy sessions weekly or more often depending on the goals of the therapy and your child's needs. Once your child starts school, the school therapist may even offer additional treatment and support.
Occupational Therapy Can Make School More Enjoyable
Occupational therapy may be beneficial in getting your child ready for school. Developing fine motor skills helps your child control their hands for handwriting and using scissors. Developing larger muscles can help with balance and body strength. This helps your child participate in class along with the other kids. Occupational therapy may also improve your child's ability to relate to other people so they can make friends and limit outbursts in school.
Each child responds to occupational therapy differently, but the therapy has the potential to be helpful throughout your child's formative years. The therapist will pinpoint developmental delays in your child and adjust therapy to keep working on areas that could use improvement to help your child function better in school and at home.
For more information about pediatric occupational therapy, contact a company like Envision Hope Pediatric Therapy.