rehabilitation; primary health care; occupational health; mental health; child development; occupational therapy; education; vocational rehabilitation; community-based therapy
Occupational therapy services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder on the primary healthcare platform

Supplementary Files



Introduction: The diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is complex. In

a low middle income country, like South Africa, early recognition of ASD rarely

occurs on the primary health care (PHC) platform. To mitigate late diagnosis of

ASD, which has a poorer prognosis, the purpose of this study was to identify the

knowledge and clinical competencies required by inexperienced occupational

therapists to improve early detection of and service delivery for children with

ASD at the PHC level.

Methods: A descriptive qualitative design explored the perceptions of

occupational therapy experts as to the required knowledge and clinical

competencies necessary for inexperienced occupational therapists to deliver

services to children with ASD on the PHC platform. Thematic inductive analysis

was used to analyse the data.

Findings: Two themes emerged: Theme one: the perceived critical knowledge

for early identification, assessment and treatment of children with ASD. Theme

two: the clinical competencies required for assessment and effective treatment

of children with ASD on the PHC level.

Conclusion: This study identified the perceived knowledge and clinical

competencies needed to improve early identification and service communitybased

delivery for children with ASD on the PHC platform by early career

occupational therapists.


• This study provides critical knowledge and clinical competencies to

occupational therapists to facilitate effective therapeutic services to

children with ASD on the PHC platform.

• The study identified appropriate screening, assessment and intervention

that could assist occupational therapy service planners to reduce the gap of

service delivery for children with ASD within the concept of UHC provision

on a community-based level in SA.

• Faculty at tertiary educational institutions may utilise the findings in order to

adapt curriculums to better prepare inexperienced occupational therapists

with working with children with ASD on the community-based level.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 South African Journal of Occupational Therapy


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