The USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy’s homepage, which can be visited at ot.usc.edu, is lit up blue today in celebration of World Autism Awareness Day.
The goal is to bring the world’s attention to autism spectrum disorders (ASD), neurodevelopmental disorders recently estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to affect 1 in 88 children – a 1,000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.
Light It Up Blue, now in its third year, is a unique global initiative overseen by Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism advocacy organization, to help raise awareness about the growing public health concern. Many iconic landmarks around the world will be bathed in bright blue light on April 2 to show their support.
The USC division previously partnered with Autism Speaks to offer “Innovative Technology for Autism Spectrum Disorders,” a graduate course in conjunction with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
Current division programming concerning ASD includes research into adapting dental clinic environments to be more conducive to special sensory needs; advanced training in sensory integration theory and intervention; and the Sensory Integration, Engagement and Family Life Initiative recently announced at the 2012 Occupational Science Symposium titled “Autism in Everyday Life.”
The focus of occupational therapy services for individuals with ASD includes enhancing participation in the performance of daily activities, such as feeding, dressing, community mobility, education, work, leisure, play and social participation.
For an individual with ASD, occupational therapy services typically are customized according to the person’s needs and desired goals and priorities for participation.