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By Robert Preidt
Health Day reporter
MONDAY April 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) – Autism affects the development of motor skills in infants and toddlers, and the more severe their disorder, the slower they progress in their ability to do things like grasp objects and move around.
That’s the conclusion of a study that evaluated over 150 children aged 12 to 33 months. One hundred and ten young people in the study were autistic and 49 children did not have this disorder. Children with autism were almost a year behind typical children in fine motor skills, such as holding a spoon or small toy.
Young people with autism were also about six months behind in gross motor skills, such as running and jumping, according to the study published in the April issue of the journal. Adapted physical activity Quarterly.
The delay in the development of motor skills in children with autism was not related to intellectual ability, noted study author Megan MacDonald, assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Humanities at Oregon State University. .
“It’s not that bad if we are talking about older children, but for children between 1 and 3 years old, these are substantial deficits, almost a third of their life,” she said in an academic press release. “At this age, they’re like little sponges – we can teach them motor skills,” she added.
Plus, identifying motor problems early in children with autism “gives us more time to help children catch up with their motor skills peers,” MacDonald said.
The results show that the development of motor skills should be included in treatment programs for children with autism, said MacDonald, an expert in motor skills in children with autism. Treatment plans for children with autism typically focus on social communication.
Parents of children with autism should consider tailored physical education programs that are tailored to the child’s abilities and needs, MacDonald said.