Autism Occupational Therapy
Resource Toolkit

Empowering and enabling a neurodiversity-affirming and strengths-based practice

A variety of resources exist to assist occupational therapy practitioners (OTPs) in their work with children and youth on the autism spectrum. The occupational therapists at Holland Bloorview in partnership with the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists have curated recommended resources into a toolkit that: 

  • reflects recommended best practices in occupational therapy
  • addresses different aspects of developing a neurodiversity-affirming and strengths-based occupational therapy practice. 

These suggested resources are grouped under 12 neurodiversity-affirming and strengths-based occupational therapy principles and 3 occupational therapy domains (self-care, productivity and leisure). 

Our goal is for service providers to use this toolkit as a one central hub that houses valued resources that support your practice. To that end, please feel free to suggest other resources that you have found helpful in your work and, upon review, we will share those with this community. 

The included resources meet the following inclusion criteria:

  1. published policy documents 
  2. scientific literature
  3. resources made available by trusted organizations
  4. podcasts episodes or videos completed by expert clinicians or parents/caregivers (experts by experience)
  5. resources shared by autistic advocates

Neurodiversity-Affirming & Strengths-Based OT Practices

Neurodiversity affirming practices are therapeutic actions and view points based in the neurodiversity affirming paradigm being a “celebration of differences and different brains and different bodies” to embrace diversity and inclusivity. Instead of trying to change the individual, clinicians look at the societal, cultural and environmental barriers which may be impacting their engagement and participation in meaningful activities. These practices value listening to autistic advocates and supporting individuals by providing respectful and individualistic therapeutic supports rather than promoting neurotypical supports. For example, providing sensory tools and choices whenever needed rather than dismissing sensory regulation needs (Dr. Virginia Spielmann, Confronting Ableist Attitudes & Moving Forward Through Reflecting On & Adopting Neurodiversity-Affirming and Strengths-Based Approaches).

Want to learn more about adopting neurodiversity-affirming and strengths-based OT practices?

Occupational Therapy Domains

Feeding, Toileting, Dressing & Sleep

Play & School

Home & Community 

Meet the Occupational Therapists who Selected the Resources in this Toolkit!

*With special thanks to Stephanie Wong, Charlotte Weiler and Holly Brûlé who made significant contributions to this toolkit’s development while on an occupational therapy student placement at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

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