Contact us at the ASD Clinic

Occupational Therapy for Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Occupational Therapy is aimed at enabling individuals to participate in daily tasks, contributing to society and enjoying life. Due to the complexity and variety of difficulties in areas of functioning that individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder can experience, all Occupational Therapy interventions should be individualised and focus on their needs, goals, values and priorities. It is also important to ensure that the parents/carers and families are involved during intervention planning so that their needs are met as well.

Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders may demonstrate several behaviours that may affect their ability to participate in daily tasks. For example, behaviours may include enforcing rigidity on daily activities and patterns of play; obsessions with certain interests; motor and sensory difficulties. All of these kinds of behaviour can lead to the individual resisting any change in routine or environment.

OT intervention - pop up pirates - turn taking social skills

OT intervention - pop up pirates - turn taking social skills

Occupational Therapists working with individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder will observe the interaction of the individual within their whole environment, including family, school, play, and alongside other health professionals.

Occupational Therapists will aim to address any barriers individuals may have to participating in daily activities. They will perform a thorough evaluation to assess the individual's abilities and difficulties in performing daily tasks such as school, leisure, personal care and play. This evaluation will assess the individual's development in motor skills, perceptual skills, communication and interaction skills, routines and habits. Parents/carers will be involved in the assessment process through interviews and standardised questionnaires, which helps the Occupational Therapist to gain a better understanding of the individual with Autistic Spectrum Disorder's abilities, needs and goals.

Following a thorough evaluation and initial assessment, any difficulties that the individual is experiencing will have been highlighted and a treatment plan will then be formulated. To enable the individual to participate in everyday activities many therapy approaches can be utilised. Occupational Therapists may provide the individual and their families' strategies to modify tasks and/or the environment which will match the individuals' abilities; or they may assist in developing daily routines to facilitate adaptive behaviours.

One symptom that individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorder may have is negative responses to sensory stimulation. Occupational Therapy aims to understand how and when the individual is reacting badly to a sensory experience, and then structuring the environment to minimise these reactions. Occupational Therapists will work closely with families to ensure they are able to adapt certain tasks and environments, so that the child becomes less distressed.

Occupational Therapists will also focus on self-care, feeding and sleep problems. They will adapt these tasks, if problematic, to ensure that the individual remains as calm as possible throughout.

Occupational Therapists may also adapt the school environment to promote the individual's participation within a class setting. They may also assist teachers with understanding the impact sensory processing difficulties can result in on daily functioning, and methods to modify what they do to help minimise any associated behavioural difficulties.

Another area Occupational Therapy can assist with is general skill building. Often children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder will find it difficult to complete tasks, Occupational Therapists can provide strategies that enable skills to be broken down into more manageable steps for the child, whilst structuring the task and environment to support successful completion.

Occupational Therapists may perform a risk assessment of the home environment and then provide modifications to ensure safety of the individual with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Occupational Therapists provide a key role within the multidisciplinary team when treating those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. They can provide strategies and adaptations to assist the child in participating in daily activities by minimising any associated symptoms. Any treatment provided will be dependent on the individual's specific problems, and treatment plans will need to be constantly evaluated to ensure their efficiency and relevance.

To arrange an assessment with one of our occupational therapists please email or call 03300 886 693.

Conditions we treat
Talk to us
Find out how we can help your child

We have specialist therapists with experience successfully treating a range of conditions. We have the right therapists to help your child

Please complete the form and we'll be in touch.

You can also get in touch by calling us on 0330 088 6693, or you can email us on

Back to Top