Handwriting is an important skill for communication and success in school. Children with autism have been found to experience difficulties in their handwriting because of their trouble with fine motor skills. This is because handwriting involves motor coordination of multiple joints in the hand and arm.
Researchers at Kennedy Krieger studied the relationship of fine motor skills and handwriting in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The study indicates that children with autism have a harder time forming letters. However, this is not with their size, alignment, and spacing. By identifying this obstacle, parents, teachers, and therapists can develop specific approaches for written as well as verbal communicating.
“Identifying this fine motor deficiency in handwriting provides important insight about ASD,” said Dr. Amy Bastian, corresponding study author and Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Dr. Bastian continued on to say, “It provides another example of motor skill problems that may give us cues for other deficits with socialization and communication. Furthermore, occupational therapists and teachers can now take the information from this study and apply it to the students they see on a daily basis.”
Handwriting is not the only task that requires fine motor skills. Many children with autism also have a hard time holding a fork, buttoning a shirt, or tying their shoelace. And, these problems with motor skills may carry over into social interactions. Dr. Bastian also points out that a lack of motor skills can make it harder to communicate through gestures and facial expressions, a trademark characteristic of autism spectrum disorders.