What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy essentially means assisting people of any age group, that are disabled either cognitively or physically, to achieve their full potential in doing age appropriate 'jobs'. For a child with Autism, this means, doing child things; being able to learn, play, interact with peers, maintain self care and hygiene, etc.
The NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy has defined it as "a health profession whose goal is to help people achieve independence, meaning and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives." Similarly, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) states it as a "skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives." It is an extremely multi-faceted process which is determined by a therapist to best suit a specific individual.
Occupational therapy (OT) helps people participate in day-to-day activities, by providing services to children and families within their homes, a clinic, kindergarten, school or a community setting. Your Occupational therapist may alter tasks so that your child can participate fully in all his/her activities, such as providing built up utensils so that the child can eat independently.
They may also adjust surroundings to better suit your child, such as altering your child's seating device used at school during fine motor activities or academics. Your occupational therapist may suggest various strategies so that your child participates optimally in different environments.
They work with children, their parents or caregivers and even with the teachers to increase the child's capacity to participate in all of the daily play, self care, mobility and social experiences available to them. OTs help build skills so that children can manage daily tasks to their best capabilities.