Follow occupational therapy students at Towson University in Maryland as they show how occupational therapy plays a role in intervention with young adults through the Center for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Occupational Therapy Practitioners in Action: Towson University
Practitioners in Action:
Follow occupational therapy students at Towson
University in Maryland as they show how
occupational therapy plays a role in
intervention with young adults through the
Center for Adults with Autism Spectrum
One in every 150 children has or develops
autism, and occupational therapy can make a
difference throughout their lives. As these
children become young adults, occupational
therapy practitioners can help them lead
productive and fulfilling lives as integrated
members in their community through
interventions that address social interactions
and build interpersonal relationships.
In a joint effort with kinesiology students, occupational therapy students Laura
Hillman and Sherron Schuchman lead a group of young adults in the community to
work on social participation skills. Here, the leaders facilitate communication
through “ice breaker” activities—sharing their interests while passing the ball.
The occupational therapy students help
the young adults prepare for exercise—a
conduit for working toward the larger
goal of social participation. In this
activity, the group member mimics
movement, which indicates body
awareness, social recognition, and
The young adults stretch themselves physically and socially during the 90‐minute
wellness session. The occupational therapy students help the young adults model
social behavior and talk to each other, and the kinesiology students plan the
Through stretching, Telesforo gains body
awareness while preparing to exercise.
Schuchman coaches him to maintain extension
for 15 seconds, helping him learn self‐control
Individuals with autism often display
difficulty with communication. Hillman
coaches Daniel how to express his
needs and wants. Here, he asks
kinesiology student Kelly Nevin about
equipment use in the wellness center.
While he uses an exercise machine,
Zack engages in social interaction with
Hillman. She facilitates ongoing
dialogue and relationship‐building by
While the goal of the program is to promote social interaction among the young
adults themselves, the occupational therapy students are also promoting leisure
and exercise as important forms of activity and participation.
Hillman encourages peer
interaction between Tom and Zach.
Building body and trunk rotation increases flexibility and body awareness for the
program participants, and group exercises help them take turns and become more
comfortable with each other.
Hillman and Greg time their exercise to
mirror one another. Greg learns to
follow Hillman’s directions during this
center is open to
and is used by
a suggestion from
alphabet” with the
medicine ball to
and utilization of a
Engagement in meaningful activities and social
participation with the help of occupational
therapy prepares young adults with autism and
related disorders to live life to its fullest.
Occupational therapy helps build necessary and
appropriate relationships with others.