Occupational Therapy what difference does it make?

Paulette - posted on 03/19/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My 6 year old son started O/T nearly 2 months ago and I asked the therapist what positive changes I would see but she didn't really answer my question and just said if we use the sensory diet and brushing technique then we would see an improvement in his behaviours. She doesn't seem to want to actually address the specific areas we have trouble with and just talks in broad terms of children with an ASD. We have trouble with the boys being able to regulate themselves and because they seek a lot of sensory input they behave in inappropriate ways at certain places and at certain times. At this stage I have not noticed any kind of improvement. What has been your experience with O/T and have you found it has helped in anyway??

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Helen - posted on 03/21/2010

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My experience with O/T are hit or miss. I have one who is as useful as a box of rocks and another who is a gem. As a teacher of ASD students, I found the best tools parents have used is self advocacy. If you are not happy with what is going on look for other options and therapy. Some O/T aren't actually trained and what training they have received is limited. Seek out outside agencies supported by the Autism Association of America in your area. Most cities will have a branch that can lead you to organizations withing your community that can help with O/T. Stick with it. I primarily work with high school age kids and I can tell the difference between students who have had early intervention or consistent therapy and ones who have not.

Deana - posted on 03/21/2010

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I have a 4yr. old son whom has done OT since he was 1 1/2 and we have seen improvement it just takes a lot of time and repeatedly effort of doing things over and over till they understand and figure out how to soothe them selves.Our son used to climb windows,escape out doors/windows,crashes in to walls and things a lot runs repeatedly back and forth,lots of energy to where he does not sit still in school,bangs head etc... the OT has taught our son when he is frustrated how to calm himself first or ask for help so he wont get frustrated....we have done the brushing,joint compressions,weight vest,weight blanket,and we also have and still do all the things with music with certain kind of head phone we got through OT with soothing and calming music if needed other types of music for certain behaviors it has worked a lot....we also do like water table,rice/bean table,bubble wrap walking on it,tickling games etc..i think it just what ever works best for your child..we also have great OT to work with us and that will make a big difference..we also work with a behavior therapist as well to correct his behavior as well and it has helped to where we can go in stores now and our son knows what to expect an what behavior to have...we have done a blanket swing with my son as well and he loves it when we finished he is so mellow and relaxed till he seeks again and we do something else...i think you need OT find an OT whom you like and fits everyone and then you might see gain and progress...like i said it is lots of work and being repetitive about it all...good luck!!!!

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Thanks cherish its so true how each child on the spectrum is sooooo different, we recently had an assesment for our six year old, will be getting a second opinion as there were so many discrepencies, unfortunately the psych was more upset that my daughter sat there with her finger in her ears the whole time and put it down her (our daughters) rudeness then her distress of them singing. Unfortunately there are some really shocking therapists outhere and we just have to keep going. I have read the book out of sync child found it very helpful, so funny how you can have one child with low sensory and another with high makes for very interesting family dynamics, hope all is well with you speak soon.

Cherish - posted on 03/20/2010

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Hi,
My youngest son has severe autism and we did not see a huge improvement for YEARS!
My daughter who is sensory as well did benefit from OT much quicker than her brother.
Have you read "The out of sync child"?
Here is a link to some sensory things to do,if you can tell when your son is escalating and do some sensory things,like jumping,heavy work,brushing...etc,than maybe you can calm him,eventually he will learn to calm himself :)
* Have child pretend brushing teeth, washing face, washing hands, washing body
* Have child pretend dressing up with pants, shirts, socks, shoes
* Have child pretend to eat, drink, and clean up the mess
Pushing the Object Games
* Use a broom to push a heavy object along the indoor tactile path
* Use a bat, yardstick or dowel rod to push beanbags along the path
* Use other heavy objects to be pushed along the path

MUCH more here:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/14670-...

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My daughter has HFA, with severe sensory hyper sensitivities, OT was an absolute god send expecially when regulating her behaviour, I highly suggest seeking out another therapist, as you know not all therapists are the same. Finding an ot therapist that specializes in autism would be very benefiical, good luck hope I could help.

Michelle - posted on 03/19/2010

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i had a hrd time undrestanding ot. my son is 6 and has high functioning autism. alot of things they do depends on needs of the child. if they are working on fine motor skills then they need to be doing writing and puzzels and beads and things. if your kids have sensitivity issues then maybe swinging eases them or playing in sand or water. my son always needs to be touching things so we buy those squeeze balls and stuff. and he use to calm down playing in rice. compressions are good when he is feeling frustrated or even tight squeeze hugs. the brushing technique is something that is done every few hours for a few months. and if not used this way will not work. the sensory diet is ,for example my son will not sit still in class so they have him carry something heavy down to the office even if not needed but it eases him and he then returns to class less restless. this is some thing you could do at home to.if you have behavior problems maybe a developmental therapist or behavior therapist to help with control of this

Michelle - posted on 03/19/2010

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my experiance with ot was not great . i felt like he got frustrated and spent half the time crying and they did the same things with him everyday for 3 yrs and got nowhere. when he started school he started doing the things they pushed him to do almost like he just did not want to do it for them. the sensory diet and brushing works good but needs to be used right.is it being fully done every few hours ?

Paulette - posted on 03/19/2010

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Hi Bonnie



Yes the O/T did an assessment but I am not really sure how accurate it really is because she didn't even pick up that my son had sensory issues with being touched which I had to point out. My son has some core strength issues and fine motor problems which she is working on and I understand this side of things.



What I am really confused about are the sensory problems because she keeps saying that this is causing alot of his bad behaviours so she gives me a piece of paper with sensory things to do through out the day but when I try and ask specific questions about how the diet is suppose to work, what difference will I see etc she just keeps saying the same thing if you stick to it you will see improved behaviours.



Obviously long before my sons were even diagnosed it was highly obvious that they required a lot of sensory input which we have always allowed them to do but the meltdowns and difficult behaviour has been the major problem which was the reason I sought a diagnosis in the first place.



I have tried explaining in great detail about specific problems I encounter and she just says that it is common for ASD children. When I pressed her why I was having so much difficulty because I thought the idea behind the sensory diet was to improve things she couldn't come up with any suggestions other than to say perhaps I needed to see a Psychologist. I am just so confused :( Thanks so much for replying and listening :)

Bonnie Jean - posted on 03/19/2010

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You should of had an evaluation from the O.T. instead of her broadly talking about "boys" acting a certain way, she should have been able to describe your sons specific needs....the fine motor, gross motor and sensory evaluation done by an O.T. should give you YOUR son's baselines. No two children that learn on the Autism Spectrum have identical needs.....Is this a school O.T. or is it a Medical office O.T.? Either way an evaluation should have been done to give you your child's baselines or beginning points.

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