Asperger's Syndrome in Young Children: A Developmental Guide for Parents and Professionals

By Laurie Leventhal-Belfer; Cassandra Coe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Building Connections through Sensory
and Motor Pathways
Occupational Therapy

Teri Wiss

As has been described throughout this book, young children take many developmental leaps. Central to the world of the young child is the ability to move, navigate, and regulate one's own body through the multitude of new experiences that young children have. Young children with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) often have challenges in these skills which can impact many aspects of the child's life. These children are often described as clumsy and many avoid fine motor activities. Many of these children seem overly sensitive to noise, touch, and movement, all aspects of sensory modulation. Researchers have documented that children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders score significantly lower in sensory-motor and motor coordination tasks than peers with similar IQ scores (Dunn 1999; Dunn, Myles and Orr 2002; Iwanaga, Kawasaki and Tsuchida 2000). This chapter will provide more detail about sensory and motor functions and their impact on the child's [occupational performance.] Occupational therapists (OTs) can help us understand these challenges. Interventions to support the child's participation in meaningful daily life activities, such as getting dressed and eating, interacting with other children, participating in group activities, and developing school readiness skills, will be explored. Before discussing the various sensory systems, let us first discuss how to begin deciding whether a child needs intervention for sensory and motor issues.

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