Occupational therapists are an important part for the early detection of autism spectrum disorder among children. Their focus areas include imparting toilet training, play and social skills, self-help and fine motor skills, mealtime management and similar things.
Occupational therapists take a functional approach to their work. Their overall aim is to provide children with the necessary life skills to become a functioning member of the society. They directly address the skills that a child with autism needs to engage in his/her daily life. This could mean breaking down the skills into small and achievable steps with reinforcement and support to work towards long-term goals.
For instance, while toilet training, an occupational therapist may devise a program which increases a child’s intake of fluids. This will make the child go to the toilet more frequently. This, in turn, will lend the therapist plenty of chances to give lessons to the child on proper use of the toilet. With practice, the child will soon learn independent toileting. The therapist will also give pre-use lessons to the child, like lifting the seat cover, and how to sit on the toilet.
Occupational therapists often use teaching strategies that are based on behavioral analysis. The behavior of each child with autism is different from the other. An occupational therapist will take a functional call on each child before starting therapy session.