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Autism Spectrum Disorder at HLC Therapy Group, LLC


What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological, pervasive developmental condition. A developmental disability. Autistic individuals often have differences in behavior, communication styles and supports that are needed, sensory processing skills, social skills, and the ways they learn.

What is an Occupational Therapist's role?

Occupational therapists (OT) help individuals work further developing cognitive, physical, social, and motor skills. Therapists help children to improve everyday skills which allow them to develop increased independence and ability to participate in meaningful activities. 

For Autistic children, occupational therapy sessions often focus on sensory regulation, motor skills, play, and self-care. The occupational therapist will begin by evaluating the child’s current level of skills. The evaluation looks at several areas, including:

  • The child’s strengths

  • Current concerns that are impacting function or participation

  • How the child learns

  • Motor skills

  • Sensory processing skills

  • Self-care skills and independence


Based on this evaluation, the therapist creates goals and strategies that will allow the person to work on these skills. Some examples of goals may include:

  • Learning sensory regulation skills

  • Teaching caregivers how best to support the sensory needs of the child

  • Increasing independence in self-care tasks

  • Fine motor skill development (i.e. writing, coloring, cutting, etc.)

What is a Physical Therapist's role?

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

Speech-language therapy addresses challenges with language and communication. It can help Autistic children improve their verbal, nonverbal, and social communication. The overall goal is to help the person communicate in a variety of ways that support them in using total communication. 

Some Autistic individuals find that using pictures or technology to communicate is supportive to meeting their communication goals. 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, Touch Chat, etc.)

The speech-language pathologist can help to identify which AAC method (if any) is most supportive for the Autistic child and teach him/her how to use the method to support communication. Speech therapy can also help children work on goals related to social communication.

Information taken from:

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.

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