Takeaway: This chapter highlights the interconnectedness of motor skills to other aspects of development for autistic individuals. It also outlines the need for a greater understanding of the broad construct of autism and how practitioners, scholars, and parents can better explore, and document, these areas in relation to motor skill development.
Cite as: Lourenço, C., Esteves, D., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2021). Methodological strategies, planned motor activities and motor assessment in children and young people with autism spectrum disorder. In D. Esteves & K. Lewis (Eds.), Exercise: Physical, Physiological and Psychological Benefits, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Over the past decade, there has been an increase prevalence of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and consequently an increase in studies about its symptoms and characteristics (Myers et al. , 2018). Despite the increase in individuals with this diagnosis and the number of studies that we can find in the literature, often, when parents or teachers are confronted with the diagnosis of their children or students, it is like “plunging into the unknown.” The actors in the teaching process of children on the autism spectrum (parents and teachers) often have difficulty understanding the differences in motor and social development; therefore it is necessary to examine how to assess motor, social, communication and other abilities, among children on the autism spectrum. Moreover, it is imperative to recognize what kind of activities present major benefits and what educational strategies are more effective for this population.
With this chapter we aim to present: (i) the interrelatedness of the motor domain and other aspects of development for individuals on the autism spectrum; (ii) methodological strategies for teaching autistic children and their benefits; and (iii) testing protocols for conducting motor assessment of these individuals.