Starfish Therapies

November 24, 2009

Motor Skills and Autism

I recently read this story on NPR about a study in Neurology on handwriting skills that links autism to difficulties with motor skill acquisition.   The NPR article mentions that the delayed motor skills, a result of poor motor planning (or the ability for the brain to talk to the muscles so that they can all work together to do the desired movement) may have a significant impact on social skills and communication.  In my experience I have found that children who are diagnosed with autism, autism spectrum disorder, or PDD have poor motor planning and require increased amounts of repetition and practice to learn a new skill, and then even more practice and repetition to master it so that they can generalize it to everyday life.  In fact I also found an article that looks at brain imaging and discovered that children with autism used a part of the brain that required more conscious thought to perform an activity while children without autism used an area of the brain that was for automatic movements.

I have found these articles to be enlightening with regards to what I have seen with the various children I treat.  In addition, it opened up a slew of questions for me, the biggest one being ‘What exactly are the effects of delayed motor skills and poor motor planning on social interactions and social skill development in all kids, and does this affect them in the school setting (i.e. their educational experience)?’  Basically what are the long term effects on social development of delayed gross motor skill acquisition?




  1. I will add an additional question – what is neurotypical motor development for children with autism? In other words, what motor skills are expected at what age for children with autism?

    Comment by Your Therapy Source Inc — November 24, 2009 @ 5:29 am | Reply

  2. […] This post was Twitted by YTherapySource […]

    Pingback by Twitted by YTherapySource — November 24, 2009 @ 5:33 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for the info friend

    Comment by Tanto Bardianto — December 2, 2009 @ 10:41 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: