Autism Spectrum Disorder


Could it be Autism?


How Kids in Motion can Help!

Understanding your child’s development and behaviors can be challenging and overwhelming. With many different opinions and suggestions on what your child should or shouldn’t be doing can be stressful and confusing. Although, having the proper resources and education is important to improve your knowledge on ways to help your child develop to the best of their ability and Kids in Motion is here to help. This article will help provide you with better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder, signs and symptoms, and how Kids in Motion can help!

Kids in MotionThe Center for Disease Control and Prevention defined Autism Spectrum Disorder as a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. (CDC, 2018) With Autism being a spectrum disorder everyone will have a unique set of strengths and difficulties and will require different amounts of support in their daily lives. The following points will give a breakdown of the signs and symptoms of Autism to look out for in relation to communication, fine motor, and gross motor skills.


Signs and Symptoms


Social/Communication Difficulties:

  • May not understand how to appropriately use spoken language or nonverbal communication such as gestures, and facial expressions.
  • Limited eye contact during interactions
  • Avoid comfort from others when sad or frustrated and resists being hugged or kissed
  • Aggressive towards siblings
  • Difficulty participating in turn taking
  • Difficulty expressing needs/wants
  • Often repeats words or phrases (echolalia)
  • Difficulty with participating in reciprocal communication and maintaining topics
  • Difficulty showing appropriate problem-solving skills
  • Difficulty with knowing appropriate personal space


Fine motor/Activities of Daily Living Concerns:

  • Poor coordination during age appropriate fine motor tasks
  • Delayed grasping patterns on writing or feeding utensils
  • Delayed self-dressing skills (unable to put on or take off clothing depending on age)
  • Delayed self-grooming tasks (decreased skills or low tolerance for hair brushing, teeth brushing, and baths)
  • Drooling/ Low muscle tone


Sensory Processing Difficulties:

  • Extreme difficulty tolerating music, noise, textures, and new experiences or environments
  • The greater number of sensory exposures the more likely a sensory “meltdown” will occur due to being overwhelmed
  • Over-sensitive to sensory input (defensive), avoids touching variety of tactile input or has low tolerance for movement tasks that involve vestibular/proprioceptive input.
  • Under-sensitive (seeking), seeks tactile input such as touching things or people and seeks vestibular/proprioceptive input such as crashing into items or craving deep pressure to body.  
  • Spinning objects close to face
  • May appear deaf, not startle at noises, and at other times hearing seems normal
  • Difficulty tolerating clothing items for different seasons
  • Difficulty tolerating textures, smells, and tastes of foods which may result in picky eating habits


Repetitive Behaviors:

  • Hand flapping
  • Spinning
  • Lining up toys
  • May show decreased interest in toys but attached to other random objects
  • May pick lint or notice other small items that others would not
  • May not play with toys appropriately
  • Obsessively switching lights on and off
  • May eat unusual objects
  • Flicks fingers in front of eyes


Self-injurious Behaviors:

  • Head banging
  • Self-biting
  • Picking or scratching skin
  • Pulling out hair


Gross Motor Difficulties:

  • Exhibit motor planning difficulties
  • May appear to have exceptional motor skills in one area and yet impaired in others
  • Poor coordination
  • Toe-walking
  • Flat Feet
  • Range from exceptional balance to clumsy
  • Low muscle tone



Kids in Motion Pediatric Therapy clinic provides services in all areas from speech, occupational, and physical therapy to address the signs/symptoms stated above related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. 



Speech therapy will help improve your child’s communication skills by learning verbal and/or nonverbal skills. A speech therapist will engage your child in a variety of auditory and verbal stimuli such as story books, picture cards, interactive games, actual objects, etc. using different approaches and techniques to improve language skills. A speech therapist can also teach the use of an augmentative communication devices, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), and American Sign Language. These devices and techniques can improve communication by using pictures and symbols to ask and answer questions when interacting with others.

Occupational therapy will use creative therapeutic activities to increase independence and success in ADL, fine motor, visual motor, and sensory processing skills. Occupational therapist will introduce innovative methods to improve self-dressing, self-hygiene and self-feeding skills. Your child will engage in client centered activities to increase strength and coordination/control in hands and upper extremities to complete age appropriate fine motor and visual motor skills with greater success. Occupational therapist will demonstrate and educate family on variety of sensory diet strategies specific for your child’s needs to improve regulation to perform optimally in everyday activities.

Physical therapy will help improve your child’s strength, coordination, and balance through therapeutic exercise and activities to increase success in age appropriate gross motor skills. Child will also engage in tasks such as obstacle courses incorporating variety of gym equipment to improve motor planning skills. Physical therapist may target gait retraining if toe-walking is present by working on your child’s range of motion, strengthening and incorporating different sensory techniques. Consultation with an orthotist can also be provided if needed.

Still have questions and concerns?

We are committed to helping children of all abilities achieve and live their full potential. With experienced and compassionate Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists and four locations to serve you, we feel confident that you will be more than satisfied with the care and support your child receives.  

Check out our free Interactive Online Screener – once completed, it will respond with ideas to help your child in the areas you specify they might be having trouble with or contact us at 248-684-9610.


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What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? | CDC. (2018, May 3). Retrieved February 13, 2019, from

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