Autism Occupational Therapy
Resource Toolkit

Using an Occupation Focus in our Work

What Does Using an Occupation Focus Mean?

For occupational therapy to stay at the forefront of its unique knowledge, evidence-based theories and models of practice need to be constantly championed and applied in all domains of practice” – Wong & Fisher

There are many occupational-focused models and theories that can help guide occupational therapists in their practice. Our unique occupation lens and use of different models allows us to gather important information about the person, their environment, and occupational performance to guide assessment and intervention. This section contains resources that describe different practice models and theories and how they might be applied when working with autistic individuals. 

Comparing OT Practice Models

The aim of this article by Wong and Fisher is to compare occupation-focused models and provide recommendations on how to choose and combine these models in practice; and to provide a systematic approach for integrating occupation-focused models with frames of reference to guide assessment and intervention.

Autistic Perspectives on OT Practices

This article describes the perceptions of autistic adults on paediatric OTs working with autistic children and youth, and provides suggestions on how to support autistic individuals.

The Co-Op Approach

Dr. Jessie Wilson talks about the OT profession and shares her experience completing her PH.D. project working with autistic young adults and her use of the CO-OP approach in her work.

A description of the CO-OP Approach™ and its goal to enable individuals with performance difficulties (e.g. physical, cognitive, or other), to succeed in performing the everyday tasks and activities that are important to them.

The Kawa Model

Learn about the roots of the Kawa model and how it came to fruition.

This podcast talks about the Kawa Model where we become the student and our client becomes the theorist and where there is no separation between person, occupation and environment. It is a model where there are no boxes and circles with directional arrows, simply a river…..the river of life.

Learn about the KAWA model and helpful guiding questions to use in practice.

Dunn's Model of Sensory Processing

This resource link provided a quick summary of Dunn’s Model of Sensory Processing. 

This podcast talks about Dunn’s Model of Sensory Processing with Dr. Winnie Dunn as well as how to use her tool – the Sensory Profile II. 

The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement

This resource link provides a quick summary and references for the CMOP-E and other OT theories and models.

The Person-Environment-Occupation Model

This resource link provides a quick summary and references for the PEO model and other OT theories and models.

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