Credentials Display

Alisha Ohl, PhD, OT/L; David Schelly, PhD; Dustin Brown, MS, OTR/L; Nette Schulze, MS, OTR/L; Maria Smith, MS, OTR/L; Beth Davies


Background: We examined the services provided to adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by occupational therapists across the United States.

Method: This cross-sectional study used an online survey, with a combination of structured and open-ended questions, to collect data from a nonprobability sample. Descriptive, inferential, and nonparametric statistics were used to analyze data.

Results: In our sample (N= 57), the majority of the participants spent less than half of their workweek intervening with the adult ASD population. Caregivers were instrumental in both referral and discharge, and Medicaid was the most common payer source. The Adult Sensory Profile was used by more than half of the participants and sensory integration was the most influential model underlying practice (77%). The participants advised new occupational therapists to pursue high quality continuing education courses and formal mentorship from senior colleagues.

Conclusion: This study suggests that working with adults with ASD remains a niche area of practice. Further research is needed to examine the pathways to receiving occupational therapy for the adult ASD population.


The authors report that they have no conflicts of interest to disclose.