Among the most frequent disorders observed in children, Autism takes a major place. Autism spectrum
disorder is characterized by deficits in social interaction, communication and repetitive behaviors. When
motor dysfunction in Autistic children is discussed, the topic is mostly focused on stereotyped and
repetitive movements such as hand flapping or body rocking. Along with them, nonfunctional arm wave
and awkward hand-to-ear posture are also observed among infants with ASD as early as 12 months.
The repetitive motor movements and the commonly observed behaviors are the usual diagnostic criteria
for ASD in children. But apart from them, there are many other motor problems reported by parents
and found by clinicians such as delays of motor milestones in early development and inadequate fine
and gross motor skills of the children.
What are Motor Skills?
Motor skills are the movements and actions of the muscles in our body. Though our movements tend to
look simple, they take a lot of skill. A motor skill is a learned ability to cause a predetermined movement
outcome with maximum certainty. There are two types of motor skills, namely gross and fine motor
 Gross Motor Skills
Gross motor skills can be understood as large movements made using arms, hands, legs, feet or entire
body, such as crawling, walking, running, throwing a ball, and jumping, etc.
 Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills can be understood as smaller actions made using fingers, toes, lips, tongue etc., such as
picking things, writing, drawing, tasting etc.

As Autism is a neurological condition and doesn’t have any specified physical characteristics, this
concept of motor development in Autistic children has been in focus. But the differences in brain
functioning in Autistic children rather than the normal ones are not easy to detect. Autistic children have

varying degrees of difficulty with fine and gross motor skills. Studies say that kids with Autism could be
six months behind in gross motor skills and a year behind in fine motor skills when compared with
normal children of their age. These difficulties exist due to the neurological conditions and their
challenges with sensory processing. These motor difficulties are not same in all the Autistic children.
While some face difficulty with gross motor skills, some face more pronounced difficulty with fine motor
skills and some have difficulty facing both the problems. Tests showed that 83 percent of children with
Autism spectrum disorder were below average in motor skills.
Difficulties of children with ASD
Actually, there had been confusion in the assessment of the reason for Motor impairments of Autistic
children, whether it is due to ASD or if it runs in the families. The researchers of Washington University
school of Medicine in St.Louis have found that kids with Autism spectrum disorders exhibit significantly
more impairment in the motor related areas than their siblings who don’t have the disorder. These
motor-related problems are common in Autism children and they contribute to social problems during
childhood because kids with Autism can’t do things that other kids can do.
Kids having difficulty with these motor skills might have trouble even with simple things like brushing
their teeth, pulling a zip or buttoning their shirts. Such kids need to have an aid to help them even at
school. Having difficulty with little things makes everything tough for them and has a lot of impact on
their whole well-being. The children who realize their inefficiency may develop low self-esteem, so even
if they have delays only in the motor skills, there is a lot of impact on their well-being into adulthood,
says a Hilton, assistant professor in occupational therapy and an instructor in psychiatry.
OTs Intervention Helps
The daily challenges faced by children with Autism Spectrum disorder relate to the areas of social
interaction, communication, sensory processing and cognitive difficulties, motor planning and
coordination skills. The lower motor proficiency scores in children with an Autism Spectrum disorder,
the greater will be the degree of social impairment and severity of the order.
It is really necessary to make them work with an occupational therapist to improve in these areas.
Occupational therapists are trained to determine if a delay in fine motor skills is due to motor planning,
posture and low tone, visual motor integration skills or sensory processing difficulties. Occupational
therapists not only provide assessments but also offer interventions addressing individual’s fine motor
skills through activities targeting all these skill areas. Working on these areas, improves the fine motor
skills including dressing, self-care, grooming and feeding tasks along with writing and drawing.
Special Treatment Plans
After a professional identifies a child having difficulties with motor skills development, a treatment plan
is developed accordingly, to meet their needs. Parents should be familiar with the plan designed for
their kids and should take an active role in assisting them with those therapies intended for specific
development plan.
Strategies that Help

The therapy sessions help your child to improve their skills. In order to develop and strengthen your
child’s fine motor ability, occupational therapists develop specific activities and strategies. Parents at
home can also make this possible by making the Autistic kids do some activities like the following.
 Making the child play with slime or a similar resistive structure, and pull apart and squeeze it
 Blasting the bubbles on a bubble wrap
 Playing with a squeeze toy
 Peeling stickers
 Using a hole punch
 Cut out simple shapes or along a line
 Putting coins in a piggy bank box
 Looking for hidden objects in play dough, putty or clay
 Making them use broken crayons to practice gripping
 Building letters using wikki stick or pipe cleaners
 Making the child write in sand, dirt or other tactile material
 Lacing beads/blocks of various sizes onto strip or pipe cleaners
 Using a squeeze bottle to water the plants
 Making to pull out the hidden objects like some marbles from sand
 Making the child to put different materials in different containers
 Use magnet tiles or construction blocks to pull apart and piece together
 Use clothespins or tongs to pick up small manipulatives to sort
 Making them pull Velcro strips using them with some simple puzzles
Such sort of activities involving the motor skills helps them to improve in specific areas. It is necessary to
involve them in play activities and to make them try doing something which they feel difficult usually.
We at Wellness hub work to facilitate the kids with Autism in order to meet their basic needs in
overcoming their problems with social interaction, communication and behavioral challenges. Book an
appointment to meet our group of experienced professionals, today.

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