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Advancing excellence in Promouvoir l’excellence occupational therapy en ergothérapie CAOT Position Statement: Autism spectrum disorders and occupational therapy It is the position of the Canadian Association of occupational therapy, caregiver support, educa- Occupational Therapists (CAOT) that individuals with tion and vocational training. autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families 3. Promote comprehensive family interventions should have access to evidence-based, interprofessional and supports for families that emphasize posi- and collaborative health services throughout the lifes- tive, shared occupations. pan. Occupational therapy is an essential component of 4. Promote education for consumers, health pro- interprofessional services that promote health through fessionals, funding agencies and government, to engagement in valued occupations. ensure a comprehensive approach to treatment that addresses functional skills. CAOT Initiatives: 5. Ensure that there are opportunities for interpro- 1. Participate in government advocacy initiatives fessional collaboration among clinicians and to promote participation in valued occupations researchers and policy makers to advance evi- throughout the lifespan, including joining the dence and knowledge of ASD interventions. efforts of the Canadian Autism Spectrum 6. Create mechanisms to develop intervention Disorders Alliance (CASDA) to realize a National pathways based on evidence. Develop strategies Autism Strategy. and processes to facilitate the integration of 2. Facilitate, support or sponsor activities that pro- research evidence into clinical practice. mote collaborative interprofessional practice in 7. Increase research capacity regarding develop- homes, schools and communities. mental trajectories for intervention, including 3. Work in partnership with stakeholders to sup- quantity and optimal ages of intervention and port collaborative research to identify best prac- appropriate times for discharge or reductions in tices in ASD evaluation and treatment based on intervention intensity of therapy. client-centred values and participation of per- sons with ASD in the occupations of daily life. Background: 4. Support educational activities to increase ASD is a class of developmental disabilities that cause knowledge of effective occupational therapy severe impairments to a person’s communication, their interventions in ASD. social interactions, and their play and behaviour. The 5. Advocate for increased access to occupational disorder presents differently with respect to severity therapy services for those with ASD throughout and symptoms. The class of disabilities includes their lifetimes. autism, Asperger’s disorder, and pervasive developmen- 6. Develop plain language information regarding tal disorder (not otherwise specified). Other related occupational therapy and ASD that is accessible disorders include Rhett’s syndrome, and childhood dis- and clear for the public. integrative disorder. Over the past decade, ASD has received rising Recommendations for a National Autism attention by the medical community and the media Strategy: due to its perceived increase in prevalence. The preva- 1. Establish guidelines for the development of lence rate for ASD is currently estimated at 6.0 people integrated collaborative services among health, per 1,000 (Fombonne, 2005), greater than childhood education and social services to provide a con- cancer, diabetes and Down’s Syndrome (Canadian tinuum of care for the child, youth or adult with Autism Intervention Research Network, 2003). The ASD and their family. increased prevalence rate may be partially attributed 2. Develop funding mechanisms to finance the to im
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