How Does Autism Affect Motor Skills And Physical Development?

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By Rakib Sarwar

Autism  is a developmental disability that can cause significant behavioral, social, and communication challenges. The spectrum term refers to the huge range of symptoms and level of impairments that Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) patients can have.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects every patient differently and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. There are some common symptoms that all ASD patients share like social interaction difficulties.

However, the starting symptoms may differ along with the other symptoms that show up, level of severity, and if more issues are present. In ASD the level of severity and symptoms can fluctuate with time.

In ASD the behavioral symptoms may act up in the early developmental stage. Generally, in kids, the symptoms are visible in 12-18 months after birth or even earlier.

Who Is Affected By ASD?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can affect the socioeconomic background, ethnic group, and people of every race. However, it is commonly found in boys instead of girls. Researches say that ASD can be developed from a combination of environmental, genetic, and non-genetic, or other influences that may increase the risk of autism development in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every newborn 54 kids has ASD.

How Does ASD Affect Communication?

Generally, kids with ASD are self-absorbed. They have quite a limited ability to interaction and communication with others. They often exist in their private world. Kids with ASD face difficulty in understanding others and developing language skills. In some cases, kids also face difficulty in nonverbal gestures like eye contact, hand gesture, and facial expressions.

The communication ability in kids with ASD depends upon their social and intellectual development. Some ASD kids are even not able to communicate through language or speech and some may have very minor verbal skills. But there are also some ASD kids that are able to talk in detail about specific subjects and have better vocabularies as well.

Generally, these kids have issues with the rhythm of words their meaning, and making sentences. These kids are also unable to understand the meaning of different vocal tones and body language. Altogether these issues make it difficult for kids with ASD to interact with others.

How Does Autism Affect Motor Skills?

They may have gross-motor difficulties like difficulties with fine-motor control, such as manipulating objects, writing, and a clumsy, uncoordinated gait. Some kids may have a problem with coordinating the movements between the right and left side of the body which makes it hard to perform actions like jumping, pumping their legs on a swing, hopping, or skipping.

Others may have problems maintaining their balance or posture and have low muscle tone. However, some seem to have issues with actions like Autism motor coordination that need hand-eye coordination, like imitating the movements of others, catching a ball, or planning a series of gestures or movements, known as praxis. These complications can vary from mild to severe which can affect any motor system of the body.

Some transformations that prompt people to autism may also contribute to motor issues like every one-month delay in start to walk grows a child’s odds of having an unnatural mutation in an autism gene.

When Does Motor Issues Start?

They can act up in infancy. For example, one-month-old toddlers who are diagnosed with autism later tend to move their arms less than a normal kid does. By about four months of age, a normal child can keep her head in line with their shoulders when dragged up into a sitting position, but a baby with autism frequently lacks that power, and their head will flop back.

And at 14 months, an age when most normal children can walk, autistic children may still be not able to stand. Other motor issues can include struggling to sit up or hold objects, and not pointing or clapping.

Can Autism Cause Physical Disabilities?

Children with ASD at times may have physical symptoms which include digestive difficulties like sleeping problems and constipation. Children with autism motor coordination experience poor coordination of the major muscles used for climbing or running or the minor muscles of the hand. About a third of people affected with autism also experience seizures.

Does Autism Affect Movement?

Young adults who suffer from autism have unusual posture and difficulties with fine motor abilities. Researchers presented that motor problems like toe-walking, clumsiness, and altered gait are quite familiar in autism. Individuals with autism experience low fitness abilities as compared to normal people. These abilities include body coordination, balance, other mobility, and visual-motor control.

What Do Autistic People Experience Difficulties With?

People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have problems with understanding both verbal and non-verbal language like the tone of voice or gestures. Some autistic people have limited speech and some are not able to speak at all. However, other autistic people have quite good language skills but still face difficulties understanding tone of voice or sarcasm.

Do Autistic Kids Have Poor Motor Coordination Skills?

Kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) not only experience limited communicative and social abilities but also have some major motor abnormalities like poor coordination of balance and poor timing. Furthermore, weak gross motor skills make it difficult for them to make friends.


Generally, behavioral and social measures are used to identify autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in kids, but approx. 80 percent of infants with autism experience motor coordination and physical issues that include difficulties with eye movement control or gaze and clumsiness. The core reason for these motor shortages is still poorly understood. However, you can still train your autistic kid to improve their motor skills.

To develop better motor skills your child needs to develop better core strength and stability in their arms and shoulders. Without proper strength and stability, it can be very hard or nearly impossible for an autistic kid to develop fine motor skills.

If your kid lack core strength and stability, it is best to start the practice of motor coordination skills with a good sitting posture with their thighs fully supported. Try to make them sit on an air cushion, it will help them stay alert and upright. Once the posture gets in place you can slowly move towards other fine motor skill practice.

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