Occupational therapists enable people of all ages to carry out everyday activities which are essential for health and wellbeing by providing treatment, support, care and or environmental adaptations.
Occupational therapists may help autistic people to carry out activities such as feeding or dressing themselves, engaging in social interactions, completing school activities, working or playing.
Occupational therapists may use a wide range of different interventions, techniques and tools. For example they may show individuals how to hold utensils so that they can feed themselves, they may create games which help individuals to socialise with other people or they may teach individuals to respond more appropriately to sensory information.
Occupational therapists usually work as part of a multi-disciplinary team with other health care/education providers (such as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists, teachers and parents) to provide a package of care designed to meet the needs of the individual.
The evidence base for the diverse interventions, techniques and tools used by different occupational therapists varies enormously. For example, there is some high quality evidence to suggest that some multi-component programmes which include elements of occupational therapy may provide some benefits to some autistic people. However there is currently insufficient high quality evidence to determine if specific techniques provide any long-term benefits to autistic people. Because of this, we do not believe it is possible to provide a ranking for occupational therapy as a whole.
However we believe that occupational therapy may help some autistic people, especially when it is provided as one element of a combined, multi-component programme delivered by a multi-disciplinary team, and when that multi-component programme is personalised to the needs of the individual.
Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions