Motor skills weakness is commonly seen in children and teens with Asperger’s Disorder. It is estimated that 50–90 percent of children with Asperger’s Disorder have motor skills problems.
You may have observed problems in some of the following motor skills:
Locomotion: Walking and running gaits may appear unusual. This will interfere with basic childhood play of games such as tag and hide-and-seek. Children’s locomotion problems are visually apparent to their peers, and they may be called clumsy or klutzy and are easy targets for teasing. They are also likely to be the last chosen for teams.
Ball skills: Catching and throwing are poor. Children with motor skills problems fail to watch the ball when trying to catch it; they raise their hands too late and position them too wide or too narrow. Kicking a ball is poor. Poor ball skills translate into teasing, criticism, and rejection, as peers are angered when the Asperger’s Disorder child causes them to lose a game.
Balance: Balancing on one leg can be problematic and cause problems with hopscotch and jumping rope. This has less impact on play and team activities than locomotion and ball skills.
Manual dexterity: Also called fine motor movement, manual dexterity is the ability to use the hands to manipulate objects. Skills such as writing, coloring, cutting with scissors, buttoning clothing, and tying shoes can be challenges for children with Asperger’s Disorder. Handwriting can be the cause of many behavior problems. Procrastination, disrupting the classroom, and tantrumming may be seen as tactics the Asperger’s Disorder child uses to avoid writing.
Coordination: This refers to the control of the body in sync with the arms and legs. Skills such as riding a bike and Rollerblading are achieved quite late for many children with Asperger’s Disorder.
Rhythm: Some children have trouble with rhythm. This may result in trouble with rhythmic motions such as clapping to a beat.