Betsy DeBrakeleer, COTA/L, ROH, Occupational Therapy Program Clinical Fieldwork Coordinator and four occupational therapy students presented at the Southern Maine Autism Conference at UNE's Biddeford campus on March 13, 2010. Jeffrey Champagne, Ashley Dickerson, Taylor Hovey, and Amanda Whiting co-presented a session titled, "Addressing the Need for Occupational Therapy Across the Life Span of Those with Autism." Their reviews of current OT research, interventions, and applications are applicable to the growing population of individuals with autism and their families. One in seventy-seven Maine children have Autism. That rate has been on the increase since autism became a more common diagnosis approximately twenty years ago. The children who were diagnosed then are now young adults and have unique needs that society at large has not dealt with. These twenty-somethings will continue to age and will require assistance with housing, employment, supportive living, self care, access to community, access to goods and services and access to the best quality of life with as much independence as possible. Occupational therapy is integral to helping individuals with autism achieve optimal function, fulfillment and happiness.
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