Tuesday, 10 November 2015 10:00:00 AM Australia/Melbourne

Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have unusual ways of learning, paying attention, reacting to sensations and many associated physical challenges. It is a spectrum, at one end the conditions may entail above average IQ, but at the other end the effects may be severe physical impositions and learning disorders.

Individuals on the spectrum commonly have difficulty with movement skills which are typically divided into two categories: gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve large scale coordinated activities such as walking and individuals on the spectrum may not have a normal sense of themselves in relation to their environments. This means a lack of awareness of where their bodies are in relation to their surroundings making them very accident prone with a tendency to bump into objects.

Fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller muscles of the hands, such as when doing up buttons, handwriting, negotiating scissors or knives. Fine motor skill efficiency significantly influences the quality of the task outcome as well as the speed of task performance. Efficient fine motor skills require a number of independent skills to work together to appropriately manipulate the object or perform the task.

Unfortunately the causes of ASD remain unknown - however early diagnosis, intervention and treatment are keys to a successful management strategy. ASD symptoms and behaviours often change over time, therefore treatment strategies will also change over time.

Whilst there is often an emphasis in assisting children with ASD, it is important to remember that as adults, people with ASD
will still have difficulties with two main areas – social communicaiton and social interaction. Furthermore, many adults on the autism spectrum also suffer co-morbidities (co-occurring conditions and syndromes) which bring their own problems and which may complicate the ASD issues.

For parents, family members or carers it is important to find a strong network of support, learn all you can and share the knowledge with others. There is a range of community support from many different people and groups, along with a great range of products and support tools to help make life that little bit easier.


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