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Autistic adult perspectives on occupational therapy for Autistic children and youth

Sterman, Julia; Gustafson, Erin; Eisenmenger, Lindsay; Hamm, Lizzie; Edwards, Jules


Erin Gustafson

Lindsay Eisenmenger

Lizzie Hamm

Jules Edwards


The Autistic community values neurodiversity-positive approaches rather than behavioral interventions for Autistic children; however, little is known about what that would look like in occupational therapy. Frequently, researchers seek parent perspectives for understanding Autistic children’s preferences, while to date insufficient attention has been paid to Autistic adults as valuable informants on the Autistic experience of Autistic children. The objective of the study was to understand Autistic adult perspectives on pediatric occupational therapy for Autistic children. We sought and thematically analyzed data from a large Facebook group and an occupational therapy podcast on Autistic values, needs, and experiences in pediatric occupational therapy. Participants described wanting therapy that supported Autistic identities rather than trying to “fix” children, changing environments or tasks to promote participation, and setting goals that address self-advocacy and autonomy. Occupational therapy practitioners should critically reflect on their practice’s alignment with Autistic values and start to shift their practice as needed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 10, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 17, 2022
Publication Date 2023-04
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2022
Journal OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health
Print ISSN 1539-4492
Electronic ISSN 1938-2383
Publisher Slack
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 2
Pages 237-244
Keywords self-determination, evidence-based practice, occupational justice, autism
Public URL


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