St Joseph Health shares benefits of occupational therapy for kids with autism

THE THR3E(Recurring)
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Amy Southard is the Occupational Therapy Supervisor of St. Joseph Pediatric Therapy.

Occupational therapists are healthcare professionals who work with their patients perform daily routines and roles. Southard says that in addition to occupational therapists at the office, you will also find speech therapists and physical therapists.

“What makes occupational therapy unique is that we help patients to get back to their daily routines,” Southard said.

Southard’s office specifically serves pediatric patients, so they mainly focus on play-based therapy.

“Children don’t always want to work on things that are a bit challenging for them” said Southard. “If the child’s pediatrician sees some red flags that warrant some more specialized interventions, that’s where we come in.”

The staff helps kids with genetic disorders, ADHD differences, sensory differences and autism. When a diagnosis comes in, the staff gives families the tools they need to adjust to these changes.

“We want to try and make sure that we really hone in on the importance of early intervention,” said Southard. “We try to do a good job of trying to navigate as these parents may or may not be used to these diagnoses because they are trying to learn. We are very thankful to be able to celebrate autism awareness in conjunction with occupational therapy.”

Focusing on early intervention, St. Joseph’s wants parents and families to be prepared for what daily life looks like.

“Lots of times [children with autism] have difficulties with sensory processing and they get overstimulated in their environments,” said Southard. “Just going to the grocery store or going to the church can be very uncomfortable.”

“We can help improve their sensory tolerance so that they can then enjoy the activities with her family,” says Southard. “This allows them to be able to participate in those family events.”

If you would like more information on how Saint Joseph’s Pediatric Therapy can help you and your family, give them a call today at 979-485-2956. You can also visit their website.