Motor impairment is a core characteristic of autism and treatment should reflect this fact. Interventions aimed at improving motor coordination, gait & balance, arm function, and movement planning should be implemented in early intervention.
A study from 2011 found that gross and fine motor differences in autistic children increased significantly with “each 6-month period of chronological age” (Lloyd et al., 2011). And a study from 2012 reported that “motor skills were substantially impaired among ASD-affected children and highly correlated with autistic severity and IQ” (Hilton et al., 2012).
Many children with ASD self-report having difficulty suppressing non-volitional movements, and, as well, initiating and sustaining purposeful ones.
Typical treatments refer to autistic traits as behavioral. Whereas it is well-known that social skills deficits stem from three systems including emotional, cognitive, and motor. Motor being the area rarely addressed with our children in traditional therapies.
Children with autism regularly respond with a “gap” between their ability to process information and respond appropriately – leaving many people to think they don’t know the answer to questions or don’t understand.
Aiming treatment at improving motor – using reflex integration to build the foundation of the nervous system, followed by cross-body movements using timing & rhythm should be the gold standard in treatment.