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Mental Health Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy for Autism: Impacting Patients

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occupational therapy for autism

Each year, Fusion helps hundreds of therapy clinicians and clinic managers perfect their practice, so they can continue providing care to those who need them. Because of this, we’ve become a bit of an expert in identifying areas of opportunity for therapy clinics – whether this is helping therapists expand their offerings to new populations or improving outcomes by streamlining their care delivery. One area we often help clinics fine-tune is occupational therapy for autistic patients.


Evaluating ASD and Why OT Matters

As an evidence-based practice that often takes a holistic approach, occupational therapy can be of great benefit for both pediatric and adult patients diagnosed with ASD. Since occupational therapy helps develop and maintain skills for everyday life – which are essential and build strong foundations for self-care, leisure, learning, and productivity – including OT in an autism care plan can have profound benefits.

Furthermore, Corinna Laurie, Clinical Lead OT with the NAS elaborates that, in her clinical experience, “those with sensory processing differences, often have co-occurring difficulties with posture, coordination and motor planning.” So beneficial are occupational therapy interventions with neurodivergent individuals, that, as an OT, you may even play a part in evaluating the severity of an ASD diagnosis.


Finding Patients

Most of the time, patients and/or their caregivers will rely on insurance to cover the cost of their occupational therapy. If you’re looking to begin or make a larger impact on this unique population, it’s important to build your referral pipeline by networking with developmental pediatricians, primary care providers, psychologists, and neurologists. Read up on the work they are doing, reach out with introductions, and when referrals do come in, ensure you are following up promptly and professionally to maintain that open door. Of course, as a caveat, ensure you are abiding by your state’s regulations and guidelines.

If you are practicing in a state that doesn’t require referrals or are working with largely self-pay clientele, consider surveying your existing patients to see how they discovered your clinic and continue your networking with special education schools and autism programs that connect those with ASD to helpful resources such as yourself.


Collecting data is essential when caring for autistic clients. Not sure how to accomplish point of care documentation? We wrote a free guide.


Providing Excellent Patient Experiences

As always, one of the best ways to maintain the caseload you need to meet revenue goals is to foster patient retention. Provide seamless experiences with a tone of compassion and education to stay in your patient’s trust. Beginning with intake, make sure you are keeping clients abreast of what they can expect. Share documents via the patient portal from day one that introduce care delivery processes, staff, FAQs, billing, and insurance information, and whatever else may be helpful to take away with them. Outlining expectations can soothe a lot of anxiety that comes from care – regardless of your specialty.

And, speaking of intake, use streamlined electronic forms to help everything run smoothly and to collect all the information you will need to build a plan from the get-go. If you’re working with cases where the patient may struggle with mobility or sensory overload – offering telehealth options can be a great way to take pressure off visits – and help prevent no-shows. Likewise, if you’re working mainly with a parent or caretaker – your EHR must be equipped to handle those kinds of discrepancies in notetaking and permissions, so talk to your tech vendor to make sure you have what you need.


Fusion Brings Patients and Therapists Together

Whether you’re embarking on a new journey for your clinic or are looking to perfect your practice, Therapy Brands and Fusion are here to help. Our EHR has been designed by therapists and includes all the tools you need to provide excellent care for autistic pediatric and adult patients. Check out our features or schedule a demo to see how we can help your clinic grow.




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