Home safety for children with autistic spectrum disorder: local authority occupational therapy intervention

Paul Boyle, David Haines, L. Lovelock, K. Innes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Health and social care agencies are encouraged to provide child-centred services that respond to needs that change over time. There is evidence that occupational therapists are concerned about how to respond to issues of harmful behaviour in the home environment whilst promoting child development. This study explored occupational therapists' experiences regarding harmful behaviour and the safety of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.Method: Seven community occupational therapists, employed by a local authority and working in social care, participated in two focus groups.Findings: An inductive thematic analysis identified five broad themes. These were: 'assessment is complex', 'child development and the home environment', 'importance of family-centred services', 'the need for additional services', and 'management of the disabled facilities grant'.Conclusion: Local authority occupational therapists prioritize supporting families to keep children safe. It is necessary to adapt the home to reduce hazards and for alternative interventions to be made available to address behavioural and sensory needs. Services such as sensory integration are lacking, and where they are available access is difficult. It is common for disabled facilities grants to fund adaptations; however, management of grants could be improved to meet the needs of these children and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalBritish journal of occupational therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2014


  • Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • safety
  • home
  • environment


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