Autism Spectrum Australia

Occupy Therapy Street

  • Posted: 23/10/2014
  • Author: Thomas Kuzma
  • Comments: Loading.. .


Hi there everyone! Welcome back to a new week on Aspire. I know you guys are wondering what happened to last week’s blog. Well it turns out the high horse I was on ran far away after I told him how much I loved the glue factory. So, let’s get back to our regular show. This week I went with Jenna to a variety of events, including her 5 yr school reunion and a night with Stephen Fry. I am happy to announce I was a great boyfriend and I helped her through. I found out that it’s great to have someone there to help you through the hardships in life.

What is occupational therapy? I mean really, I have no idea. Is it getting a massage for someone with a bad back? Is it a person that makes a job easier for someone? Well it would seem that we are both in for a journey. Who knows, maybe I have had occupational therapists all along; I just didn’t know what they were.  Let’s find out someone who does know!

A Professional Opinion:

Climbing down the waterfall of Occupational Therapy I came across Sarah Crook. Sarah works for Building Blocks; let’s hear what she had to say.

Occupational therapy’s main objective is to help people engage in their everyday activities or occupations (OT Australia, 2014). This may include work, play, school, self-care skills and community leisure pursuits. Occupational Therapists (OTs) work with a broad range of individuals across the life-span, with a diverse range of needs, as well as with their carers and significant others to support individuals to engage in what is important to them.

OTs have a significant role to play in supporting individuals with autism. Some of the areas of support may include:

  • Developing play skills
  • Teaching self-care activities e.g. toileting, dressing, grooming, feeding
  • Supporting sleep
  • Engagement in activities to develop fine and gross motor skills
  • Strategies for sensory differences
  • Support with behaviour management
  • Community access


OTs use a range of information gathering and assessment tools and then use functional activities to further develop skills. They modify tasks and/or the environment to support engagement. They may also prescribe specialist equipment such as weighted products, handwriting tools etc to also help.

I have been an occupational therapist for 10 years and in that time have worked in the hospital system with adults as well as in community-based paediatric roles. At Aspect I am a Service Coordinator for Building Blocks Early Intervention program.

Working with young children with autism and their families can be extremely rewarding as we often see significant change in the early years and these changes have such a positive impact on their families. Some examples include:

  • A family being able to engage in a play with their child through sensory-motor games, when previously their child showed no interest in them.
  • A child learning to use the toilet when previously they had no awareness of toileting
  • A child being able to sit and focus at preschool or in the school environment so they can learn
  • A child being able to cope with a trip to the shops, which previously would have  been too overwhelming due to sensory needs and anxiety surrounding new experiences
  • A child trying new foods, which previously they would not have tolerated on their plate
  • A child learning to write their name in preparation for their transition to school


Occupational therapy can be traced back hundreds of years, although it didn’t become a formal role until just before World War 1.When I was at Uni, there was a joke that OT’s were the “basket weavers” as historically they engaged wounded soldiers in a craft or industry related activity and this then had a positive impact on their overall health and daily functioning. Over the years the profession has evolved and diversified as occupations change and evolve over time. It has also evolved across the life-span and I think that people are generally more aware of the profession and what we do and I think this will continue to improve. I see occupational therapy as a strong profession which provides many opportunities and that will continue to evolve as individual’s roles and occupations change, especially in our rapidly expanding technological world.

My Two Cents

Good heavens, last time I saw that much info on one topic I was in the library looking for love between U and I (that joke is for you Jenna). Now that I have a grasp on occupational therapy, what tales do I have to say on this helpful topic?

Back in the early months of the ancient year of 2009 I was starting my Multimedia course. I had met two marvellous people, Benji and Marko who were like minded gamers; we had a love for Nintendo, so we spent more time gaming than being educated.  What I realised was that in this new world I would need to devote my entire attention to class. When I started to refocus my time on study I realised how bad I was at time management and organising.

Luckily for me I knew Berinda Karp, who was the head of disability support at Mt Druitt TAFE and after a conversation or two, I had a tutor! I have to say what a tutor too - she could sense when I was struggling and rewired the procrastinating person I was into a Lean mean multimedia machine.


By the looks of things, I have had my fair share of occupational therapy. Mum Dad helped me with my motor skills in high school by buying me juggling balls and setting up concentration exercises for me. Back when dad thought I was just like everyone else in primary school, he saw I was having problems whilst playing soccer, so he would put me in an easier position like fullback.

In conclusion


In order for a society to function as a whole we need strategies that help the individuals through moments of hardship. This is why we have hospitals, doctors and nurses. But the journey of recovery can’t be finished in one session. The road is one that takes time, effort, 25g of butter, 1/3 cup of caster sugar oh wait, that’s pancakes.

You read in the Professional opinion that Occupational therapy has been around since World War 1. It is a system that has been around for almost a century and has done wonders. I look forward to seeing many more occupational therapists helping people from all walks of life!


Also, if you are like me and you have trouble being productive, I found this on Reddit, it may come to help you out.



Who am I? ( to com tomorrow)


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Occupy Therapy Street