Autism Spectrum Disorder at HLC Therapy Group, LLC

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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. 

What is an Occupational Therapists' role?

Occupational therapy (OT) helps people work on cognitive, physical, social, and motor skills. The goal is to improve everyday skills which allow people to become more independent and participate in a wide range of activities. 

For children with autism, OT programs often focus on play skills, learning strategies, and self-care. OT strategies can also help to manage sensory issues. The occupational therapist will begin by evaluating the person's current level of ability. The evaluation looks at several areas, including how the person:

  • Learns

  • Plays

  • Cares for themselves

  • Interacts with their environment

The evaluation will also identify any obstacles that prevent the person from participating in any typical day-to-day activities. Based on this evaluation, the therapist creates goals and strategies that will allow the person to work on key skills. Some examples of common goals include:

  • Independent dressing

  • Eating

  • Grooming

  • Using the bathroom

  • Fine motor skills like writing, coloring, and cutting with scissors

What is a Physical Therapists' role?

Physical therapists (PTs) are movement specialists. They are in a unique position to help children with ASD. PTs help children with ASD develop their gross motor skills and basic movement skills. These skills help children with ASD play games, sports, and take part in physical education with their peers. PT's help children with ASD gain their full potential.

PTs have unique training in child development and motor control. This expertise allows them to assess a child's motor delays and functional performance. PTs work with your child, your family, and your child’s school to help them:

  • Engage and improve in daily routines at home and school

  • Acquire new motor skills

  • Develop better coordination and a more stable posture

  • Improve play skills, such as throwing and catching a ball with another person

  • Develop motor imitation skills (learn by copying others' actions)

  • Increase fitness and stamina

 

A physical therapist will evaluate your child thoroughly. This typically includes taking a health and developmental history. It will also include an assessment of:

  • Postural strength and control

  • Functional mobility (eg, walking and running)

  • Body and safety awareness

  • Coordination

  • Play skills

  • Interests and motivators

  • Ability to change between different activities

  • How your child jumps, hops, pedals a tricycle or bicycle, and skips

  • Daily routines in the home, community, and school

What is a Speech and Language Therapists' role?

Speech-language therapy addresses challenges with language and communication. It can help people with autism improve their verbal, nonverbal, and social communication. The overall goal is to help the person communicate in more useful and functional ways.

Some people with autism find that using pictures or technology to communicate is more effective than speaking. This is known as Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC). Examples of AAC methods include:

  • Sign language

  • Picture exchange communication system (PECS)

  • iPads

  • Speech output devices (such as Dynavox)

The speech-language pathologist can help to identify which AAC method (if any) is right for someone with autism and teach him/her how to use the method to communicate. Speech therapy can also help people work on goals related to social communication. Speech therapists sometimes offer social skills groups in addition to one-on-one therapy.

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What questions can we answer?

We know that there are a lot of questions when choosing a therapy provider for your child. Contact us today and we are happy to help.