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Occupational Therapists Use Sensory Integration to Help Autistic Children Find Fitting Social Behaviors
Date:4/14/2009

PORTLAND, Ore., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a biologically based neurologic disorder affecting childhood development. Although it has strong genetic underpinnings, it is also a mix of unlike disorders. While ASD has been associated with many medical disorders and syndromes, the nature of such associations still isn't clear. According to recent CDC information, one in 150 children suffers from ASD, and it's four times more common in boys than girls.

"Occupational therapy helps people develop the life skills needed for living independent and satisfying lives, and it's also helpful for children diagnosed with ASD," said Dr. Skip Freedman, Executive Medical Director at AllMed Healthcare Management (www.allmedmd.com), a leading independent review organization (IRO). "Occupational therapists who treat children with ASD seek to help them develop suitable responses to stimuli in their environment."

Four clusters of behavior characterize autism: disturbances in social interaction, deficits in communication, behavioral abnormalities, and disturbances of sensory and perceptual processing. Of these, the inability to communicate is key. Children with ASD learn to talk later, don't learn to talk at all or sometimes lose the ability to talk. Others may learn to talk, but find using language effectively in social interactions difficult. Children with ASD can be both under- and over-responsive to sensory stimuli. Disturbances in the children's perception of auditory stimulation are common.

Based on analysis of the interactions of an ASD child's skills, challenges and occupations, occupational therapists can intervene to help the child select alternative behaviors and tailor the intervention for the child's specific needs and personality. This increases the child's gaining new skills.

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SOURCE AllMed Healthcare Management
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