The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Occupational Therapy as “the set of techniques, methods and actions that, through activities applied for therapeutic purposes, prevents and maintains health… with the aim of achieving maximum independence, autonomy and reintegration in all possible aspects, such as labor, mental, physical and social”.
That is, Occupational Therapy seeks a way to ensure that the person acquires the abilities to be able to develop in different areas autonomously. This type of professionals, works both with children with various physical and mental problems, as is the case with children with ASD. As with adults who may suffer various diseases or traumas.
Today, October 27 is the World Day of Occupational Therapy. A very important date both for professionals in this branch of health, and for families who every day enjoy all the advantages of this type of therapy, both in children and adults. Although for many years it was difficult to show the value of Occupational Therapy, today it is essential in the intervention in ASD children.
Occupational Therapy in Children with ASD
The term ASD includes the words Autism Spectrum Disorder, children who have any of the characteristics and characteristics of this disorder usually suffer maturative delay to varying degrees. That is, children with ASD have greater difficulty reaching their age-specific milestones, such as walking, talking or controlling sphincters among others. In order for these children to have the possibility of being independent in their future (this is somewhat subjective since each case is very different and the degrees of the disorder are very diverse), we work with them from a multidisciplinary team.
In this team, there are the professionals of Occupational Therapy. Through various activities and games, they work with children with the aim of achieving maximum functionality. Something fundamental in the therapy with ASD children, as they manage to get involved in everyday activities through play. Activities that can then be applied to the different facets of life.
Benefits in children ASD
In the case of the intervention of Occupational Therapy in children, the goal in each case is that the child can carry out his own activities according to his age. To do this, different areas are worked:
- The basic activities of daily life: These are those that are related to the care of one’s body, such as dress/undressing,brushing your teeth, eating or personal hygiene, among others.
- Instrumental activities of daily life: In this block, activities that complement children’s lives in society are worked. For example, help to make the shopping list, walk the dog or buy small things on their own, which gives them autonomy.
- Rest and sleep: They learn to perform those tasks that prepare them tosleep and enjoy a good rest. Very important since many children with ASD often have difficulty sleeping well and rest all night.
- Education: These are all kinds of activities necessary for their learning and performance within the environment.
- School: Learn tosit on your site, attend and perform your own tasksaccording to your age, organize tasks, do homework, etc.
- The game: It is based on activities that provide the child with fun and entertainment.
- Leisure and leisure: The child learns to perform non-compulsory activities, where the child freely participates in activities of interest.
- Social participation: One of the most important areas to work in children with ASD, since one of the weaknesses in this case isthe relationship with their peers.
The work of each of these areas with ASD children, leads them to improve their autonomy. Their way of relating to their peers and allows them to develop their abilities to the maximum. As well as improve the hypersensitivity that some children have. Therefore, the work of occupational therapy professionals is fundamental in the branch of pediatrics in this case.