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Support for Autistic Children

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Learn how we're supporting autistic children cared for by the wonderful Occupational Therapy team at Rainbow House.

The Occupational Therapy team at Rainbow House work with babies, children and young people with additional needs across North, South and East Ayrshire. 

The team help each child to be as independent as possible by assessing all areas of a child's life and abilities. As well as providing suitable aids or adaptations, the team will also look into children's fine motor skills, sensory difficulties, feeding, play, and schooling.

Children who require support from the Occupational Therapy team will often have conditions including Cerebral Palsy, developmental coordination disorders, Muscular Dystrophies, Juvenile Arthritis and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

For autistic children, one common sensory difficulty is that of poor proprioception - perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.

Crosshouse Children's Fund has proudly funded weighted vests - often known as Bear Hug vests - and specialist 'Move and Sit' cushions, that can offer proprioceptive feedback for the child. These can help help them to feel calmer and to be more effective at concentrating and learning.  

"The weighted vests funded by Crosshouse Children's Fund can be very effective and due to their comfortability, the child is often unaware that they are wearing them. The vests will be used as an assessment tool, letting parents and schools see how it could improve daily life interactions and experiences for a child. We can then offer a trial to children who may benefit from the vest, and assess if this would be suitable for them to use in the longer term."


As a result of lockdown, many autistic children have missed their daily routines and the important structure to their day, which can have a direct impact on their mood and behaviour. These children will have also missed out on additional supportive therapy that their schools provide such as hydrotherapy, to help them cope with the challenges presented by their conditions.

Increasing levels of anxiety experienced by autistic children as a result of the pandemic is stressful for not only the child, but for their parents and siblings too. By equipping the Occupational Therapy team with these important resources, staff will have the chance to offer a wider range of tools to families and schools, to ensure that autistic children are helped to reach their full potential.