Motor Skills During the 1st Year of Life

autism-motor-skillsIf differences in motor development can be observed in young infants later diagnosed with autism, then there is potential to detect autism long before a child is old enough to socially interact or to start speaking. In several research studies, abnormal motor patterns were observed in every child that later was diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The following are some areas of motor development where differences have been reported:

The child should equally use both arms and legs to push, reach and kick. Once the child starts rolling, he should be able to go to either side.

The absence of crawling or crawling with atypical patterns, such as bottom scooting or crawling with one foot up, is commonly reported.

Rolling Patterns
Rolling with the back arched or rolling stiffly like a pencil has been observed.

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Joni Redlich, DPT About Joni Redlich, DPT

Joni is a pediatric physical therapist who specializes in developmental disabilities, is certified in Neurodevelopmental Treatment, and has extensive experience with sensory integration therapy. She blogs at Kid PT.

  • Martianne Stanger

    Have you ever heard of relationships between early development issues, such as bum scooting and gross motor delays, and later dyslexia? An odd potential connection, I know, but one I am interested in researching a bit about…

  • Dr.Joni Redlich, DPT

    Its not an odd connection at all! There is even an approach called crawling therapy, where older children are made to crawl rather than walk for hours a day (I don’t recommend it though!). I would expect these kinds of motor development differences to be common in the subset of children with learning disaibilities who also have dyspraxia.

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