What does a Therapist for Autistic Children do? (with picture)

Patti Kate
Patti Kate
A therapist for autistic children may specialize in occupational therapy.
A therapist for autistic children may specialize in occupational therapy.

A therapist for autistic children teaches skills to succeed in many areas of development. This type of therapist may provide in-home services, where the child can receive therapy in the security of a familiar environment. An autistic therapist for children may use play therapy, or behavior therapy. An integral part of the therapy involves teaching social skills and self reliance to help the child become independent.

It is quite common for a therapist for autistic children to specialize in occupational therapy. This may include teaching basic skills such as learning how to properly feed oneself. In many cases, autistic children may not have learned to use a fork or spoon. Occupational therapy for an autistic child may also focus on daily tasks such as dressing himself and using the bathroom.

Teaching skills that help the child interact with other children, as well as adults, is something a therapist for autistic children will do. In the case of a severely autistic child, this may include teaching him to maintain eye contact and respond to another's actions. The therapist for autistic children may also help a child to willingly participate in group activities.

Some autistic children suffer from anxiety in social situations, such as leaving the home each morning for school. The therapist may help the child control his anxiety in the transit. Teaching skills that help the child establish daily routines without causing turmoil for the child is generally part of the program.

The therapist for autistic children may also provide educational therapy, such as teaching the child how to write simple words or improve his handwriting. Creative activities such as drawing or other creative expression may be encouraged by the therapist. In many cases, a mildly autistic child may be encouraged to participate in group reading.

Music is a common therapeutic program for autistic children. Many autistic children who have limited or non-existent verbal skills will respond positively to music therapy classes. The therapist may use various techniques to elicit singing from the children. This also encourages learning. Some techniques include question and answer verses sung to a particular tune.

A play therapy program may involve interacting with the child as he attempts to play with toys. For instance, the therapist may sit at a table with the child and try to get his attention by picking up a toy, or intercede as he plays by himself. Sharing is another concept the therapist will try to teach his clients. This will generally happen after social interaction has been established.

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    • A therapist for autistic children may specialize in occupational therapy.
      A therapist for autistic children may specialize in occupational therapy.