Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability causing behavioral, social and communication issues. The Autism Society estimates that 3.5 million Americans live with ASD.
ASD is typically diagnosed in early childhood as these challenges are noticed by parents and doctors. Individuals with ASD often display an inability to carry conversation and make eye contact, compromised motor skills, and delayed communication abilities.
Southeastern Med’s staff of physical, occupational and speech therapists can help individuals with ASD deal with the symptoms in various ways.
Occupational therapists can help these individuals utilize better communication techniques at home or in a job setting. With younger individuals, these staff members may coordinate efforts with teachers to promote appropriate classroom behaviors, social interactions and improved academic performance.
Someone having trouble with their handwriting may work with a therapist to develop better hand strength and fine motor control that will help them write more legibly. Limiting sensory distractions may also prove beneficial for individuals with ASD.
Movement challenges are common challenges for individuals with ASD.
Physical therapists can help people living with autism improve their stamina and fitness levels, motor skills, boost social skills and develop better posture.
These therapists help individuals with autism improve body awareness and coordination, mobility skills, and boost strength for movements such as jumping or pedaling a bicycle. By boosting a child’s sophisticated skills such as kicking, throwing and catching, therapists can increase students’ social interaction abilities.
Speech therapists can help people with ASD have more success in developing relationships through improved communication techniques. Through testing and monitoring, these therapists evaluate a person’s communication abilities and formulate a series of goals, which may include:
- Using proper facial expressions that correlate with emotions
- Speaking more clearly
- Working to strengthen muscles of the mouth, jaw, and neck
Southeastern Med offers an Autism Support Group for parents and caregivers of individuals with autism. The group meets on the first Friday of each month from 6-7:30 p.m. at 660 Brick Church Road, Cambridge. Call 740.439.8977 for more information.