My son has been going to a weekly "life skills" class for just over a year where he gets occupational therapy and speech therapy on an alternating basis. I think the group has been very helpful with his pragmatic speech delay and has given him extra practice with his social skills as well so I am very happy with that aspect of it. However, I don't understand the OT. I had a one-on-one conversation with the OT a few weeks ago to ask her specifically what… read more
We have a fantastic OT who really "gets" spectrum and/or ADD kids. Yes, he has helped DD with her fine motor and self-care skills, but beyond that he has really helped her with self-regulation and staying focused on task. We just had a session yesterday and he was praising how much progress DD has made since she began working with him at the end of March. So yes, I do think the right OT can make a big difference in helping a child with ASD stay focused and follow directions.
OTs can help a child learn to stay on task.... to extend their attention span.... to extend the number of steps in a task.... to deal with sensory issues.... etc. That all in addition to the typical fine motor, gross motor, etc that we generally associate with OTs.
I agree that OTs need to include parents as part of the team and be willing to talk and collaborate etc. So it's best if you get one that can do this. But also try to remain open to any new ideas a professional can breing to the table. That doesn't mean their ideas are all good.... but once you find a competent OT, they will surprise you with their insight and creativity. You should also be given every opportunity to observe sessions so you can extend those OT sessions to other environments.
My 9 year old HFA has major difficulties with concentration and staying on task that have led to him dropping well behind at school (he's now going into his 5th year of schooling). We've seen a psychologist specialising in ASD who showed me some excellent ways to improve his focus. I can't emphasise more, though, the need for someone with ASD expertise! Perhaps the two key strategies she showed us were: 1. using a chart with 6 circles to put checks whenever Tom was really concentrating. Once he achieved ticks in all 6, she had a short game for him. Note that the tick was for his attention/concentration, rather than the standard of output in whatever he was doing at the time. 2. Breaking each activity/task/homework session into 5 - 6 parts obviously manageable tasks. Tom has to tick each component as he finishes, giving control to him. The final task is a computer game or other activity of choice. THis sort of written sequence is important because many kids have almost no concept of time and may believe a task will go on indefinitely. THis causes them to bomb out early. Hope these help. Good luck.
My son has an awesome OT! She knows what his preferred/non preferred activities are and will often have a schedule set up for him when he arrives. Our ABA therapist does something similar. My son is very visual and goal oriented, so we remind him 'hey...I really want to give you these gummies. Let's do 2 more work book pages and then you can have gummies." Using a chart with happy faces helps him to focus on each task and the overall goal without getting overwhelmed by the entire project.
Communication is so important between service providers and patients/caregivers. If I am unsure of anything going on with my son's therapy, I ask questions until I understand (as much as possible for the average person at least!)