For almost 50 years, April has been designated as the month to promote awareness and acceptance of the tens of thousands of individuals facing an autism diagnosis each year. Autism month is recognized both nationally here in the United States and around the globe.
Autism Awareness Month is about more than promoting awareness as it has expanded to include working to ensure those with Autism achieve acceptance in schools and their communities. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children are impacted by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This bio-neurological disability is typically diagnosed before the age of three and is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the United States.
Because April is also recognized as Occupational Therapy Month, let’s take a look at how children with ASD are helped through Occupational Therapy.
- OT’s evaluate the child to benchmark daily living and play tasks against typical benchmarks. They note attention span and stamina, transition skills, sensory responses, and behaviors.
- Once an OT has gathered necessary information, they begin to develop a strategy for treatment. These may include physical activities to develop coordination and body control, play activities to help with socialization and communication, and developmental living skills such as brushing hair and teeth.
- OT’s are focused on helping the child with ASD improve the skills that will impact their quality of life and help them achieve their highest levels of independence within their capabilities. In addition to the daily living skills, an OT helps develop fine and gross motor skills, body and spatial awareness, coping skills and communication and social skills.
This month, the creators of the children’s show, Sesame Street, introduced a new Muppet character Julia who suffers from ASD. Julia will be a regular member of the cast and will serve as an advocate for introducing viewers to Autism and its impact on so many children and adults.
Take a moment and share any Autism Awareness Month events you plan to participate in by using the comment section below. You can also join us on our Facebook page and tell us your story.