Top 5 autism tips for professionals: occupational therapy

Hilary Hart, Senior Occupational Therapist at NHS Tayside, gives us her top 5 tips on providing occupational therapy to autistic people.

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Author: Hilary Hart

Top 5 tips

Occupational therapy

1. Be mindful of sensory issues. Bright lights, noises, smells and disorganised environments can have a huge impact on an individuals' functioning. Often, small changes to an individual's environment can make a huge difference to how they cope.

2. Communication. Give people time to communicate. If one method of communication doesn't work, try another. Keep things straightforward and leave time for processing.

3. Organisation. For some people written information works best, others may prefer to receive information by e-mail. Diaries and calendars can help with appointments and organisation.

4. Education. There is lots of information out there. Learning about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will help individuals understand themselves and their preferences, and enable them to discover their own personal strategies for coping.

5. Individuality. Everyone is different. Some strategies will work for some people, whilst others will respond to different methods. Encourage individuals to learn what works best for them. Every therapeutic relationship is unique.

Further reading

Dunn, W., 2009. Living Sensationally. Jessica Kingsley Publishers

National Autistic Society – Adult life

National Autistic Society – Anxiety in adults with an autism spectrum disorder

National Autistic Society - Communication

Date added: 22 February 2016