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  • Morgan Grimsley, OTS

Autism Spectrum Disorder, Community Mobility, and Occupational Therapy



Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a “developmental [disability] characterized by impairments in social interaction and communication and restricted and repetitive interests/behaviors” (Won, Mah, & Kim, 2013, p. 1). As occupational therapists, our main concern is how these impairments and behaviors effect their functional performance in their everyday lives. The symptoms and behaviors often associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder can challenge and individual’s ability to participate independently in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). One IADL that is particularly important to all individuals is community mobility. In their 2012 article, Precin, Otto, Popalzai, & Samuel (2012), study the occupational therapist’s role in training these individuals how to navigate their community. We are able to help them discover the transportation systems that are available to them, teach them how to plan their travel, and how they can execute their travel plans safely (Precin, et al., 2012). In order to do this, the therapist could implement interventions geared toward map reading, time management, safety awareness, money management, emotional regulation, and social/communication skills (Precin, et al., 2012). Learning these skills could help an individual with ASD become independent, gain employment, engage socially, and overall become an active member in society (Precin, et al., 2012).


Resources:

Precin, P., Otto, M., Popalzai, K., & Samuel, M. (2012). The role for occupational therapists in

community mobility training for people with autism spectrum disorders. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 28(2), 129–146. https://doi.org/10.1080/0164212X.2012.679533

Won, H., Mah, W., & Kim, E. (2013). Autism spectrum disorder causes, mechanisms, and

treatments: focus on neuronal synapses. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 619. doi:10.3389/fnmol.2013.00019

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