The whole team works to equip and support the children to engage in all classroom, community, routine and playground activities.
Participation in meaningful life activities is supported by helping the individual to maintain, improve or develop new skills; adapting the environment; and/or adapting the task requirements. Through occupational therapy, a person with autism can be aided both at home, in the community and within the school setting by teaching skills needed for tasks including dressing, feeding, toilet training, grooming, social interaction, writing, manipulation and scissor use, walking, running, playing and sports, and managing classroom expectations.
Many children with ASDs have some kind of sensory processing disorder. This means they process information about their world and their bodies differently to others. This may affect them in a number of ways: poor balance, difficulties planning movements efficiently, difficulties attending to important information, emotional dysregulation, sensitivity or seeking in their sensory systems and much more. The impact of sensory dysfunction can vary greatly however it often impacts the person’s ability to learn successfully.
In the school context, an Occupational Therapist’s main focus is to support children to engage in their primary occupation of being a student. At Giant Steps, this is achieved through working within a transdisciplinary team to equip and support children to engage in all classroom, community, routine and playground activities.
Skills which Occupational Therapists bring to the transdisciplinary team include:
At Giant Steps, Occupational Therapists work with classroom teams to support each student in three different ways. Whilst different in style, each way is focussed on sharing knowledge with the whole team. This facilitates skill development for staff members outside of their specialisation, ultimately strengthening all programs at Giant Steps.
Occupational Therapists also play a key role in supporting families. This is achieved through regular communication with families concerning goals for their child, successes and challenges at home and school and recommended strategies for success. Ensuring generalisation of skills across all environments is a key focus for Occupational Therapists as this allows students to engage fully in activities at home, school and in the broader community.