Autism Spectrum Disorder and Motor Skills

In addition to the three main difficulties of social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and communication challenges, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often find problems with their coordination, posture, and motor planning. Recent studies have revealed that difficulties in movement are common to ASD children, and kids with weaker motor skills, suffer from greater communicative skill deficits.

Children on the spectrum have varying levels of difficulties while processing sensory information, along with difficulty to use skilful attention. Both add to the challenges that autistic children face while picking up motor skills.

What’s required to learn motor skills?

Learning motor skills depends upon the brain’s ability to forge a connection between various parts of the brain involved to control bodily movements. It includes the ability to pick up sensory information from the environment and the body to predict what may happen next, and to plan actions and adapt them as required.

Neuro-typical children can easily make these brain connections in the course of daily experience. They are eager to take up new challenges, explore various ways to achieve their goals, and expect mastering new skills with practice. They get the “I can do” sense of efficacy.

Children with autism often have to resort to apps to encourage physical activity for learning motor skills. This is because there’s a difference in the way an autistic child’s brain forms new connections. They often need additional practice to learn a new skill.

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