Health Policy Perspectives
Health Promotion and Wellness for All Students: School-Based Occupational Therapy as a Preventive Approach
This Health Policy Perspectives column is a call to action to refocus the occupational therapy practitioner’s role in school settings to include providing high-quality, evidence-based preventive mental health education and interventions.
This special issue includes review articles, qualitative exploratory studies, assessment tool content validation, and novel interventions and reveals opportunities for growth in the field of occupational therapy, both for more research as well as for intervention development and clinical involvement to support clients with autism across the lifespan.
Special Issue on Mental Health Needs for Autistic Clients
Social Agency and Neurodivergent Routines: Supports and Barriers to the Mental Health of Autistic Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This article includes suggestions generated from input from people with autism spectrum disorder or Asperger’s syndrome for how to support the mental health needs and promote the participation and well-being of autistic adults in case of another pandemic or other unexpected event.
Pain Experiences of People Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of Case–Control Studies
This systematic review adds to the body of literature indicating that people diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have sensory abnormalities with regard to pain experiences and highlights the need for occupational therapy interventions to focus on pain experiences.
A Preliminary Study on the Content Validity of the Family Assessment of Quality in Self-Care Engagement
The Family Assessment of Quality in Self-Care Engagement (FAQ–Self-Care) is a promising tool that highlights the influential life factors that intersect with the self-care participation of families raising neurodiverse children on the autism spectrum.
The Adaptive Care program is an example of occupational therapy practitioners and other interprofessional team members adapting physical and social health care environments to support the mental health needs of autistic children.
“Feeling Unwanted, When Nobody Wants You Around”: Perceptions of Social Pain Among People With Autism
This study highlights a discrepancy between autistic people’s need for social interactions and the social pain they experience, and suggests directions for intervention programs to improve their coping strategies and promote their self-acceptance and better inclusion in the community.
This article adds to the understanding of using the strengths and interests of autistic people by incorporating their voices into occupational therapy research and practice in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Reductions in Depression and Anxiety Among Autistic Adults Participating in an Intervention to Promote Healthy Relationships
Healthy Relationships on the Autism Spectrum (HEARTS) offers a potentially effective, nonpharmacological, psychoeducational group-based intervention option to promote healthy relationships for autistic adults.
Linking Sensory Integration and Processing With Mental Health in Autism: A Retrospective Review of Survey Data
This autistic-led, internet-based survey broadens consideration of the dimensions and mechanisms inherent in sensory integration and processing (SI/P) and provides insight into the intersection of SI/P differences with depression and anxiety among autistic adults.
A Parent-Mediated Anxiety Intervention Specifically Tailored for Autistic Preschoolers: A Pilot Study
The findings from this research provide preliminary support for the adaptation of an existing small-group, parent-mediated intervention (Cool Little Kids) to prevent and reduce anxiety among autistic children.
Social Participation Experiences of Families Raising a Young Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for Mental Health and Well-Being
This study highlights the social participation (SP) experiences of families raising children with autism spectrum disorder (C-ASD), focusing on both supports and barriers. Occupational therapy practitioners can use the findings to potentially prevent isolation and promote both child and family mental health and well-being.
Ayres Sensory Integration® for Addressing Play in Autistic Children: A Multiple-Baseline Examination
This study is the first to examine the impact of the Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI) intervention on play outcomes for autistic children and the third study to document the feasibility of single-subject research for studying ASI.
This study supports a focus in occupational therapy interventions on sensory processing, emotional regulation, behavioral skills, and social skills in autistic children with and without intellectual disability (ID) to increase participation in home life, friendships, classroom learning, and leisure activities.
Father–Child Playfulness: A Secondary Analysis of a Multiple-Baseline Single-Subject Study of Three Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
This study explores whether Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI), coupled with parent training, improves child playfulness and fathers’ support of child playfulness.
Occupational therapy practitioners can support autistic people across the lifespan in areas such as daily living, leisure, and executive function strategies, as well as support their caregivers as they manage the present and plan for the future.
Occupational Injustice and the Right to Play: A Systematic Review of Accessible Playgrounds for Children With Disabilities
This systematic review identifies and synthesizes existing research on the relationship between key areas of development and accessible play settings for children with disabilities to inform evidence-based interventions and advocacy work.
Scale of Parental Playfulness Attitude (PaPA): Psychometric Properties With Latino Caregivers in the United States
The evidence for this study suggests excellent internal reliability and good cross-cultural validity for the Scale for Parental Playfulness Attitude (PaPA), an important tool for occupational therapists working with Latino-American families to measure parent playfulness in the context of parent–child play.
A Sensory Integration Intervention in the School Setting to Support Performance and Participation: A Multiple-Baseline Study
This study tests the effectiveness of a sensory integration intervention paired with teacher consultation, aligned with the principles of Ayres Sensory Integration® and the Sensory Therapies and Research Frame of Reference, to improve functional regulation and active participation in school for students with sensory integration and processing differences.
Associations Among Clinical Factors and Occupational Therapy Service Utilization in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
This study found that sensory interests, repetitions, and seeking behavior predicted occupational therapy service utilization by children with autism, whereas other sensory response patterns did not, suggesting a possible referral bias for certain sensory response patterns and the opportunity for occupational therapy practitioners to educate parents and teachers about the scope of practice.
Joint Attention–Based Occupational Therapy Intervention in Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Occupational therapy based on joint attention–based intervention can enhance the effectiveness of special education programs attended by children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by improving visual perception, social communication, and positive behaviors.
Columns: The Issue Is. . .
Improving Executive Functions Using the Engineering Design Process: A Peer-Mediated Problem-Solving Approach for Autistic Adolescents
This article discusses using the Engineering Design Process (EDP) within existing occupational therapy models to demonstrate its adaptability and flexibility, describes the distinct features of this problem-solving strategy, and presents a real-world case study in which the EDP is used in an after-school program.
Evidence-Based Practice: Evidence Connection
This Evidence Connection article describes the occupational therapy evaluation and intervention a college student received after sustaining repeated sports-related concussions.