Social Skills, Motor Skills and Autism

 

How are social skills, motor skills, and autism associated with each other? Previous research indicates that deficits in communication, social skills and motor skills are characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

How are social skills, motor skills and autism associated with each other? Previous research indicates that deficits in communication, social skills and motor skills are characteristics of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Research Review on Social Skills, Motor Skills and Autism

A systematic research review examined the relationship between social skills, motor skills and autism.  Researchers performed a review including studies that investigated the following:

  • an association between social and motor and skills among individuals previously diagnosed with autism.
  • one or more social skills measures were used.
  • one or more measures of gross or fine motor skills were used.

Results of the Study

The data was classified and the researchers determined the following:

  • a highly likely association between social and motor skills emerged.
  • twelve of the sixteen studies reviewed reported associations between social skills, motor skills and autism.

Relationships were seen between social skills, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. More specifically the researchers reported that:

  • three studies indicated that fine motor skills had a stronger relationship with social skills than did gross motor skills.
  • when gross motor skills association with social skills were examined, object control skills seemed most closely linked to social skills.
  • manual dexterity seemed to most closely related to social skills when fine motor skills were investigated.

The researchers concluded that these are preliminary results and further research is necessary to determine the overall relationship between social skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and individual with autism spectrum disorder.

Reference:

Ohara, R., Kanejima, Y., Kitamura, M., & P Izawa, K. (2020). Association between Social Skills and Motor Skills in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education10(1), 276-296.


The Making Friends Social Stories for Girls OR Boys digital download offers help for one of the most distressing problems that our students and children face which is the inability to make and maintain friendships.

The Making Friends Social Stories for Girls And/Or Boys digital download offers help for one of the most distressing problems that our students and children face which is the inability to make and maintain friendships. So often what happens between children is out of our direct view and we only hear about what is happening when there are problems. Created by school-based Occupational Therapist, Thia Triggs, the Making Friends Social Stories for Girls And/Or Boys digital resource gives us concrete skills to teach to children, the context to practice skills, and positive language and illustrations so children feel successful at every step of the way. Clear, consistent visual expectations, previously rehearsed scenarios, and specific accommodations help children easily make friends! Designed specifically for students on the spectrum, as well as for children with ADHD, anxiety disorder, and intellectual challenges, this product also has applications for the shy or new child within a given setting.


Previous Research on Autism and Motor Skills

Previous research was published in Autism regarding motor skill development in children with autism.  The researchers studied 144 children from 67 families where at least one child had a diagnoses of autism. The Bruininks Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, 2nd Edition, was performed on sibling pairs.  The results indicated the following:

  • the lower the score on the Bruininks the greater the degree of social impairment and severity of autism
  • total motor composite scores were at least one standard deviation below the mean in 83% of the participants with autism
  • only 6% of the unaffected siblings exhibited one standard deviation below the mean with regards to total composite score
  • overall motor skills in siblings without autism were essentially normal

The researchers concluded that motor impairment constitutes a core characteristic of autism.

Reference:   Hilton CL, Zhang Y, White, MR, Klohr CL, Constantino J. Motor impairment in sibling pairs concordant and discordant for autism spectrum disorders. Autism. Published Jan. 18, 2012. doi: 10.1177/1362361311423018



Additional Research on Autism and Social Skills

In terms of autism and friendship skills, research was published on the relationship between activity participation, friendship, and internalizing problems in 129 children (ages 6-18 years) with autism spectrum disorder. The researchers concluded that that activity participation was related to more friendships, even after controlling for intelligence quotient. Read more here.

Reference: Dovgan, K. N., & Mazurek, M. O. (2018). Relations among activity participation, friendship, and internalizing problems in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autism, 1362361318775541.


Using Motor Interventions to Help Individuals with Autism

The researchers concluded that motor evaluations and interventions should be the standard of care for children with ASD.  In addition, dyspraxia should be recognized as an important part of the definition of ASD. Read more here.

Reference:  Kaur, M., Srinivasan, S. M., & Bhat, A. N. (2018). Comparing motor performance, praxis, coordination, and interpersonal synchrony between children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research in developmental disabilities72, 79-95.


Teaching Catching, Throwing and Kicking Skills