Children with autism have problems with social and communication skills. Many children with autism also struggle with deficits in their motor skills. Motor skill problems and autism severity are linked with the level of social and communication problems that children with autism have, according to research from Oregon State University.
Two studies led by researcher Megan McDonald examined whether there was a relationship between the severity of motor skill problems and the degree of deficits in social and communication skills. McDonald found that the children who had weaker motor skills also had greater deficits in their social and communication skills.
“So much of the focus on autism has been on developing social skills, and that is very crucial,” said MacDonald. “Yet we also know there is a link between motor skills and autism, and how deficits in these physical skills play into this larger picture is not clearly understood.” One theory is that children who have poor motor skills avoid sports and other physical activities thereby also missing the social aspects of these activities.
“Children with autism were nearly a year behind their typical peers in fine motor skills, such as holding a spoon or grasping a small toy. In addition, they were about six months behind in their gross motor skills, including activities like running and jumping,” reports McDonald.