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2 Key Factors to Help Increase Participation of Children with Autism


OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health published qualitative research investigating the viewpoint of teachers and occupational therapists (who work with children with autism) on the sensory-related environmental barriers to participation within the preschool context. Following interview questions, the data was analyzed and indicated that there are two essential components to increase the participation of children with autism in the preschool setting:

  1. Provide consistent routines.  Provide structure to the day and provide consistent participation in sensory activities.  The teachers and OTs stressed the importance of visual schedules and routines to offer a predictable sensory experience for children, increase on task behavior and to reduce harmful behaviors.
  2. Modify the task or environment and offer sensory supports to increase participation.  Modifications include changes to the environment, grading the amount of sensory stimuli or changing the type of sensory stimulation.

This study can help educate parents, teachers and school staff on a starting point when evaluating the participation of children with autism in the preschool setting.

Read more on visual supports – 5 Ways to Incorporate Visual Supports During a Therapy Session.

Reference: Aimee Piller and Beth Pfeiffer. The Sensory Environment and Participation of Preschool Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health July 2016 36: 103-111, doi:10.1177/1539449216665116.

Visual Supports for Self Regulation and Classroom Participation

Self-Regulation and Classroom Participation Visual Supports Designed by a school based occupational therapist, Thia Triggs, this color coded visual support system is suitable for children with autism, emotional behavioral disturbance, intellectual disabilities, ADHD, communication disabilities, and more. Pictures are cute, engaging, and easy for children to understand. Visual supports for self-regulation can be pivotal in implementing an IEP in the least restrictive environment. This digital download includes 283 visuals.  Find out more information.