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Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?

Different skills are required at different stages of a person’s life. An Occupational Therapist considers how the person’s underlying disability may be impacting on their skills, relationships, and interactions with their environment. Occupational Therapy focuses on aiding skill development and implementing strategies that support an individual in all the environments that they encounter.

After an initial assessment, your Occupational Therapist will help you to set individualised goals, and then develop a program based on your personal needs in collaboration with you, your family and your support network (where appropriate).

To learn more about Occupational Therapy visit the Occupational Therapy Australia website here.


Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing is the process of taking in information from the world around us through our senses and interpreting and organising this information. Everyone has 7 different senses that we consistently receive input from in order to gain information about our bodies and the surrounding environment. These are:

  • Tactile input (touch)
  • Olfactory input (smell)
  • Gustatory input (taste)
  • Auditory input (hearing)
  • Visual input (sight)
  • Proprioception (body awareness)
  • Vestibular (balance)

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum can often experience differences in the way that their brain and body processes sensory information, which can impact their engagement in various activities and environments. Our Occupational Therapists can assess a person’s individual sensory processing and the impact that this has on their daily life. With this information, our therapists will trial and recommend sensory strategies and support to maximise your independence and engagement in daily activities, routines and environments.


Tips on supporting skills development at home

Some basic tips on supporting skill development and performance with people on the autism spectrum:

  • When teaching or practicing a skill, ensure that the individual is in a calm, regulated and “just right” state for learning
  • Visual supports can help to make the tasks and expectations clear and easy to follow, so use visuals for tasks and routines.   
  • Gradually reduce the amount of prompting that you are providing to an individual when learning and practicing a skill. Start with physical prompts (touching and guiding) and as the individual demonstrates success gradually reduce the level of prompting to modelling (performing the skill next to the person learning), gestures (pointing or tapping), verbal instructions and finally visual prompts.
  • Vary the environment, equipment and with who the skills are practiced with to support individuals with generalising their learnt skills to different environments, contexts and with different people. This will maximise the individual’s success with skill maintenance and prevent it from decreasing or disappearing.


Our Occupational Therapy Services

Our Occupational Therapy Team can support people of all ages who require skill development and support in the following areas:

  • Daily living skills such as dressing, toileting and sleeping
  • Play and leisure skills
  • Sensory processing
  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Attention and concentration
  • Behaviour support
  • Emotional regulation
  • Social skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Stress and anxiety
  • School readiness skills
  • Mealtime skills


Group programs

Autism SA runs a number of group intervention programs including:

  • Aquatic Therapy
  • Mealtime intervention
  • Social Skills Groups – such as What’s the Buzz, and
  • Parent information sessions.

If you wish to express an interest in attending one of our groups, you’re welcome contact our Pathways Consultants  via email or phone 1300 288 476, and they can help you get started.


Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy is a 1:1 individualised occupational therapy session held in a heated pool, in a community setting. Aquatic Therapy supports participants to develop skills in a range of areas, including but not limited to:
• Gross motor skills;
• Fine motor skills;
• Social skills;
• Community participation;
• Water safety;
• Sensory and emotional regulation;
• Following instructions; and
• Transitioning skills.

More information on our Aquatic Therapy program can be found here.

If you’d like to register your interest in attending  Aquatic Therapy, please fill out the registration of interest form here and one of our team will be in touch with you soon.


Accessing our services

Our Occupational Therapy services can be accessed through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or can be purchased as a fee-for-service.

Occupational Therapy Services can be provided in our clinics (based at Elizabeth and Netley), at home, at school and in community settings. We are also able to offer our Occupational Therapy sessions as Face to Face and/or online Telehealth sessions.


For more information on Occupational Therapy, please contact our Pathways Team on Phone: 8379 6976 or Email