An Investigation of Upper Extremity Motor Impairments in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Motor Planning Vs Motor Execution
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder typically diagnosed when a child displays social and communication impairments, repetitive behaviors, and rhythmic movements like hand flapping. This disorder is unique because of the high variability of symptoms displayed between each individual who is diagnosed. Because of this, no neurological or physiological test exists to diagnose a child with ASD. Current diagnostic tests are various forms of interviews or observations which an experienced clinician must administer. While these tests have been instrumental in diagnosing children with ASD, many go undiagnosed, which can be detrimental as they transition into adulthood. Current literature indicates that children with ASD also display motor abnormalities. However, they are only considered secondary symptoms. The first forms of communication comes through movement at 3 months after birth. This is well before the formation of language, which begins around 12 months. Ultimately, because children with ASD display motor abnormalities, it is believed that they impact the early development of social and communication skills. The purpose of this dissertation was to further the current literature on the moto abnormalities displayed by children with ASD through a series of experiments to test their motor planning and execution when compared to children considered neurotypical. The experiments indicated no difference in motor planning and execution between the children with ASD and those considered neurotypical. This is primarily due to small sample sizes and the nature of the studies, which only included children with mild forms of ASD. Due to the high variability between each individual with the disorder, it is suggested that implementing a single-subject design could aid in identifying the actual cause of motor abnormalities exhibited by these children. Furthermore, future studies should aim for a more inclusive method of all children on the spectrum.
Cereceres, Patrick A, "An Investigation of Upper Extremity Motor Impairments in Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Motor Planning Vs Motor Execution" (2021). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28865087.