MOTOR DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
Authors: Michelle Pope, Amy Lynch, Ting Liu and Nancy Getchell
Abstract: In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that approximately 1 in 150 children have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or a pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). In addition, autism ranked as the sixth most common category for children to receive services. These findings by the CDC suggest that ASD is no longer the rare condition it was once thought to be, but rather, many practitioners, both in medical and educational fields, will encounter children with suspected ASD in their practices. While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders IV (DSM IV, American Psychiatric Association, 2000) criteria focus on the social and communication impairments of children with ASD, clinical practice and emerging literature indicate children with ASD also demonstrate a variety of motor impairments and deficits. However, a sparse number of studies have been conducted in the area of motor development and control in the past 30 years for children with ASD. The purpose of this chapter is to review literature exploring motor development and motor control abilities of people with ASD towards advancing our understanding of motor aspects in children with ASD. First, we review the existing motor related experimental and descriptive studies on motor disorder symptoms in children with ASD. Second, we will discuss both motor development and control in autism. Finally, we suggest directions for future research that integrate each of these areas. From this chapter, clinicians and researchers alike may be able to gain insights and frameworks upon which they may base clinical intervention and future research methodology.