Updates in Autism Research
Motor skills matter! – Studies have shown that motor skills are critical for the development of social skills, even in early infancy. There are now increasing research efforts to better quantify and characterize motor development and skills in children with ASD and to understand the specific brain networks that subserve motor skills.
At the Center of Autism Research and Treatment, Dr. Rujuta Bhatt, is using the latest technology to better evaluate motor difficulties in children with ASD. Dr. Bhatt is using parent report of daily living and quantitative measures of motor function to identify subtle changes in motor planning, coordination, and balance. One of these methods is Motion Capture Analysis which provides a 3D image of the full body and analyzes intricate motor information. Through a partnership between ACEing Autism and CART, we are designing a pilot study in several ACEing Autism programs to determine how tennis helps motor function and how gains in motor function relate to daily life activities and social communication.
Here are some links to key studies and articles in this area: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27314943
Early motor delays (including sitting and rolling over) relate to delays in babbling and gestures in infants at risk for autism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27429731
Differences in patterns of brain connectivity relate to poorer performance in motor skills assessments in children with autism https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21546566
Current perspectives on motor functioning in infants, children, and adults with autism spectrum disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21660499
Gait patterns differentiate children with ASD from those with ADHD