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Motor skills are significantly related to adaptive behavior skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders, according to a recent study, suggesting that focusing on motor skills development should be part and parcel of early intervention programs.
Motor skills are significantly related to adaptive behavior skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), according to a recent study, suggesting that focusing on motor skills development should be part and parcel of early intervention programs.
Investigators from Oregon, New York, and Michigan studied 233 children aged between 14 and 49 months with a diagnosed ASD or developmental delay. They recruited the children from early intervention studies and clinical referrals.
The researchers determined that the better a child’s fine motor skills, the better his or her adaptive behavior skills, such as socializing and communicating. Similarly, the better a child’s gross motor skills, the better his or her adaptive behavior composite and daily living skills.
According to the researchers, too often motor skills and autism are regarded separately, and the big problem is that motor skill deficits get bigger with age.
It makes sense that if a child can’t run well or throw or catch a ball, he or she will have greater difficulty socializing on the playground at school. When dealing with a disorder that is all about struggling to form and maintain interpersonal relationships, a lack of motor skills can exacerbate the problem.
In another recent study, the lead author of this work demonstrated the same relationship among older children. In that study, she looked at 35 6- to 15-year-olds with high-functioning ASD and found that object-control motor skills significantly predicted ASD severity. Those children with weaker motor skills had greater social and communication deficits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1 in every 88 children are affected by ASD.
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