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Therapies & Mental Health

Aug 8th, 2020

Therapy & Mental Health 

There are a wide variety of therapies available for people with an ASD diagnosis. It’s important to take some time to learn about what services are available so you can make informed choices about what is best for you and/or your family. The list below is not inclusive of all available options, but it will help you become familiar with common therapies and service providers. 

Speech & Language Pathology (SLP) 

An SLP assesses, diagnoses, and treats communication and swallowing differences in children and adults. You may be interested in SLP services for: 

  • Articulation difficulties 
  • Delayed or absent speech 
  • Receptive language, difficulties understanding and processing language 
  • Expressive language, difficulties using language to communicate 
  • Oral feeding: Struggles with chewing, swallowing, gagging etc. 
  • Apraxia: difficulty moving muscles/structures necessary for speech 

Occupational Therapy (OT) 

Occupational Therapy is a health and rehabilitation profession. An OT can assess, diagnose, and create treatment plans for sensory, motor, cognitive, social, or communication needs. You may be interested in OT services for: 

  • Gross motor skills: balance, coordination, core strength, whole-body movement 
  • Fine motor skills: any task relying on the muscles in the hands 
  • Attention span and stamina 
  • Transitioning between activities and places 
  • Understanding and accommodating sensory needs 
  • Coping strategies for understanding and managing emotions 
  • Developmental activities for daily living and self-care 

Physical Therapy (PT) 

Physical Therapy is for the preservation, enhancement, or restoration of movement and physical function. It utilizes therapeutic exercise, physical modalities (such as massage and electrotherapy), assistive devices, and patient education and training. You may be interested in PT services for: 

  • Developing muscle tone/motor skills 
  • Improving posture and addressing misalignments 
  • Neck pain and low back pain 
  • Problems with balance or mobility 
  • Chronic fatigue and weakness 
  • Fitness and wellness education 
  • Respiratory problems and/or poor cardiovascular endurance 
  • Knee, ankle, and foot problems 

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) 

Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach attempting to change behaviour by assessing the functional relationship between a targeted behaviour and the environment. ABA is used in a variety of different learning fields and is currently recommended as a standard early intervention for those with an ASD diagnosis. ABA encompasses many types of instruction such as: 

  • Early intensive behavioural intervention(EIBI) is often recommended for children younger than five. It involves an intensive, individualized curriculum designed to teach communication, social interaction, functional and adaptive skills. 
  • Discrete trial training aims to teach skills through structured task completion and rewards. 
  • Pivotal response training lets your child take the lead in a learning activity. The therapist can offer a few choices based on specific skills. 
  • Early Start Denver Model(ESDM) involves play-based activities that incorporate several goals at once. 
  • Verbal behaviour interventions aim to help children increase their verbal communication skills. 

Mental Health 

A short list of mental health resources in BC. 

Additional Resources for finding Service Providers 

Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP). 


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