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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Updated: May 19, 2021

Behavioural, social, and communication features observed in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are well researched and well documented, but what about motor difficulties?

Current research has demonstrated that children with ASD are more likely to have lower gross motor proficiency, move less, and higher rates of obesity than their neuro-typical peers. However, these impairments tend to be neglected when it comes to seeking therapeutic intervention as they're not part of the diagnostic criteria for ASD.

I had the opportunity to collaborate with AutismBC for a free webinar on May 11th. Watch the video below to hear more about how physiotherapy can help your child with ASD:

If you think your child with ASD could benefit from a physiotherapy assessment, with a Physiotherapist who works with children, you can book with Carley here.

By: Carley Townsend , Registered Physiotherapist - Pediatrics

Carley provides online physio (aka telephysio, virtual physio, telerehab) to patients all over British Columbia including Haida Gwaii, Fort St James, Fraser Lake, Fort St John, Fort Nelson, Dease Lake, Dawson Creek, Hudson's Hope, Mackenzie and Stewart. She also collaborates with the First Nations Health Authority to provide service. Carley live on Vancouver Island in Comox, close to Cumberland, Mt Washington and Courtney.

References used for presentation seen in video:

  1. Barrow WJ, Jaworski M, Accardo PJ. Persistent toe walking in autism. Journal of Child Neurology. Published May 2011.

  2. Bhat AN, Peace I, Manders L, …, Overby L. The effects of dance/creative movement on the social and motor skills of children with autism. Presented at the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting Feb 2020.

  3. Bhat AN. Is motor impairment from autism spectrum disorder distinct from developmental coordination disorder? A report from the SPARK study. Physical Therapy. Published April 2020.

  4. Broder-Fingert S, Brazauskas K, Lindgren K, …, Van Cleave J. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in a large clinical sample of children with autism. Academic Pediatrics. Published July 2014.

  5. Elliot LK, Weiss JA, Lloyd M. Beyond the motor domain: Exploring the secondary effects of a fundamental motor skill intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. Published Feb 2021.

  6. Falck-Ytter T, Bolte S, Gredeback G. Eye tracking in early autism research. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Published Sep 2013.

  7. Flanagan JE, Landa R, Bhat A, Bauman M. Head lag in infants at risk for autism: A preliminary study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy. Published Sep 2012.

  8. Hanaie R, Mohri I, Kagitani-Shimono K, …, Taniike, M. Altered microstructural connectivity of the superior cerebellar peduncle is related to motor dysfunction in children with autistic spectrum disorders. Cerebellum. Published Oct 2013.

  9. Hilton CL, Zhang Y, White, MR, …, Constantino J. Motor impairment in sibling pairs concordant and discordant for autism spectrum disorders. Autism. Published January 2012.

  10. Karmel BZ, Gardner JM, Meade LS,…, Harin A. Early medical and behavioral characteristics for NICU infants later classified with ASD. Pediatrics. Published in Sep 2010.

  11. Lloyd M, MacDonald M, Lord C. Motor skills of toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. Autism. Published May 2011.

  12. Travers BG, Mason AH, Mrotek LA, …, McLaughlin, K. Biofeedback-based, videogame balance training in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Published September 2017.

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