Asperger Motor Skills
Those with Aspergers can have a delayed development of motor skills. Motor skills are what we all need to make our body move the way we want it to. But our muscles need to be strong enough to work with and sometimes people with Asperger have low muscle tone. This can cause difficulties in developing gross motor skills such as walking, crawling or running. Clumsy or awkward movements can be symptoms of Asperger. They will develop these gross motor skills but sometimes much later than their peers.
Fine motor skills are even more difficult to learn for those with Asperger Syndrome. These fine skills are needed to develop speech, hold a pencil, drawing or coloring, grasping objects or riding a bike without training wheels, zip your own jeans, tie your shoelaces and grasp objects. However when your muscle tone is low these skills are so much harder to learn and do correctly. When you are not good at something all your peers can do it can be hard and create a sense of isolation. Imagine watching all the other kids in your class doing those things so easily while you don’t seem to be able to learn it. That can be so frustrating! It might even get those with Asperger thinking they are dumb or stupid for not being able to ride their bikes yet or tie their shoes on their own. This is absolutely not the case. Intelligence has nothing to do with it!
What you can do!
When my oldest son, now 13, was still a toddler I saw he was clumsy and uncoordinated. I just never knew realized how severe his low muscle tone was and how many problems this caused. When he was 3 years old we lived in Houston Texas and I met an RT who came to work with my son at our house. Not being aware off the seriousness of his problems I had invited her to observe him at home. As soon as she walked in she identified one of his biggest problems. He could not chew his food. Instead of transporting food with his tongue to the side of his mouth so he could use his jaws and teeth to chew it he would still push his food straight up to his pallet like a baby does. She showed me to exercise his mouth and the muscles around it. It was a few simple exercises that did the trick. Until then I had to put all his food in the blender but once we started exercising the muscles around his mouth he began to eat more solid foods and his speech began to change as well. He could make longer sentences, his grammar improved and he used more words within a week! We had to practice with him every two hours, every day for three weeks. It was worth all our effort because a lot changed for all of us since that day. Apart from exercising his mouth we were given lots of help to do great motor games with him at home and we signed him up for gym class.
So my advice to you is to find an RT or physical therapist to work with your kids they can overcome their delay in motor skills. A local hospital or rehabilitation centre is a good place to start or ask your own pediatrician for a RT that can provide Sensory Integration Therapy. My son would not be so successful as he is today without the help we got from our RT.
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