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BCBS, BlueCare/Coverkids, and Amerigroup Insurances Accepted

What are the things an Occupational Therapist can help with?

  • Fine Motor/Gross Motor Skills

  • Coordination Skills

  • Social Skills

  • Executive Functioning Skills

  • Visual Regulation

  • Emotional Regulation

  • Activites of Daily Living (ADL) Routines

  • Caregiver Education

Sensory Processing

Sensory Processing

Many kids with sensory processing issues have trouble filtering, organizing, and interpreting information taken in by the senses, which can cause extreme reactions to daily sensations like bright lights, noises, tastes, textures, pressure, or movement.

As part of the OT process, an assessment is conducted to determine the sensory profile for the child.  We want to get a better understanding of ways they both SEEK and AVOID various types of sensory input. 

Fine Motor/Gross Motor Skills
and Coordination Skills

“Fine motor” refers to the small movements our hands and fingers make which play an important role in most occupations that we perform including: coloring, handwriting, typing, getting dresses, feeding oneself, manipulating toys, and anything else that requires the use of your hands!

“Gross motor” refers to the big movements we make with our arms and legs as we learn and play which impact developmental milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking, jumping, climbing, and playing!

Fine Motor/Gross Motor Skill
Social Skills

Social Skills

Social skills are one of the most common difficulties for autistic kids. This can manifest in a range of behaviors, from avoidance of interacting with others to completely monopolizing conversations on a single topic.

Examples of social skills might include:

  • Play skills: for example, taking turns in games, sharing toys, responding appropriately to others during play, tolerating losing/winning

  • Conversation skills: choosing what to talk about or what body language to use. How does this differ when talking with peers vs parents vs teachers or bosses?    

  • Emotional skills: managing emotions and understanding how others feel. Understanding that others may have different values and interests    

  • Problem solving skills: dealing with conflict or making decisions in social situations; how to respond when things don’t go your way  

  • Non-verbal communication: being able to notice and interpret body language and facial expressions in variety of situations   

  • Community integration: being able to interact with those in the community (restaurant waiter, grocery clerk, etc.) with comfortability

Executive  Functioning Skills

Executive functioning skills are the cognitive functions required for us to be the CEOs of our own life!! Being able to make sound decisions, plan and anticipate future events, multitask, initiate a new task or chore, etc. Basically being able to manage the day to day functions of home and school life without constant prompting and reminders!


These skills include:

  • Inhibition: the ability to resist impulses and the ability to stop one’s own behavior at the appropriate time.

  • Self-monitoring: awareness of the impact of one’s own behavior on other people and outcomes.

  • Shifting focus: Key aspects of shifting include the ability to make transitions, tolerate change, problem solve flexibly, switch or alternate attention between tasks, and change focus from one task or topic to another.

  • Emotional control: ability to modulate or regulate his or her emotional responses

  • Initiation: a child’s ability to begin a task or activity and to independently generate ideas, responses, or problem-solving strategies.

  • Working memory: the capacity to hold information in mind for the purpose of completing a task; encoding information; or generating goals, plans, and sequential steps to achieve goals. Working memory is essential to carrying out multistep activities, completing mental manipulations such as mental arithmetic, and following complex instructions.

  • Planning/organizing: ability to manage current and future-oriented task demands.

  • Task-monitoring: ability to assess his or her own performance during or shortly after finishing a task to ensure accuracy or appropriate attainment of a goal.

  • Organizing materials: orderliness of work, play, and storage spaces (e.g., desks, lockers, backpacks, and bedrooms). Caregivers and teachers typically can provide an abundance of examples describing a child’s ability. 

Executive Functioning Skills

Emotional Regulation

Emotional Regulation

Being able to identify emotions and learn coping strategies to manage these emotions are important foundational skills to being able to function in his or her home, school, and community environments.


Decreased frustration tolerance often leads to intense meltdowns. With strategies in place, some of these meltdowns can hopefully be anticipated and therefore managed in more productive way. 


I most frequently use a protocol called Zones of Regulation to help children be able to learn a language to describe the way they feel and develop activities using Zones of Regulation concepts to practice self-regulation. 


Sometimes families or teachers have other systems and language used to assist children with emotional regulation skills. In these cases, I try to incorporate the same concepts the child is learning elsewhere into the therapy session to reinforce the concepts and promote carryover of information!

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of daily living include basic self care activities such as getting dressed, toileting, bathing, eating, brushing hair and teeth, etc. 


Children may experience difficulty in these areas for a variety of underlying reasons:

  • They may have difficulty processing sensory input, making it difficult to tolerate the feeling of their hair brush, the temperature of the water, or the tags on their shirt. 

  • They may have delayed fine and gross motor skills, making it difficult to button/unbutton clothing, coordinate their movement to get dressed, open and close small lids.

  • They may have difficulty with executive functioning, making it difficult to initiate their routine, sequence through the various steps without becoming distracted, knowing when to start and stop each step.

  • Or the underlying cause may be behavioral and the family experiences intense tantrums each morning and night during their ADL routines. 

Caregiver Education

Caregiver Education

The Occupational Therapy process is collaborative! 

OT is not a one-size fits all approach and each family has different needs and wants that need to be considered. 

Meet the OT

Meet our Occupational Therapist!

Chapel Mason, OTD

My name is Chapel and I am the occupational therapist at both our Bridges clinic and the CAC! I began working with autistic individuals about seven years ago and graduated with my OTD from UTC in 2022.

"My main role is working with the CAC to establish our OT program that will serve the autism community in Chattanooga through play-based and evidence-based practice."

More Info

Would you like more information about OT services at the CAC? Fill out this form. 

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