Developing Motor Skills

Developing motor skills is a challenge for many children with autism. Learning to move one’s body in a way to navigate and interact with the physical world is an important skill for any child. For children with autism, these fine and gross motor skills are often late to develop. ABA therapy uses a variety of techniques to improve and better develop motor skills to help with balance, body awareness, and motor control.

Developing Motor Skills

ABA therapy helps children with autism develop motor skills by identifying specific long-term goals for each child, breaking those into smaller component goals, and then teaching the child how to master these component skills while working toward the long-term goals.

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How Does ABA Therapy Improve Motor Skills?

ABA therapy improves motor skills in a few steps. First, a long-term goal is identified for a child, like writing their name or riding a bike. Then, an ABA therapist will break this large task up into component or smaller tasks that need to be mastered in order to achieve the long-term goal. For example, before a child can write their name, they must be able to hold a pencil the correct way. The component tasks are then practiced and repeated until a child demonstrates fluency with the task and can ultimately complete the long-term goal.

A trained ABA clinician will create an individualized treatment approach for each child since motor skill deficits will vary greatly from child to child. ABA therapists will often work alongside or in collaboration with occupational therapists to ensure treatment goals are appropriate and achievable in a child’s motor skills development.

At some therapy centers, including The Place for Children with Autism, many motor skills are developed and taught via play activities in ABA group therapy to build muscle strength and endurance in fun and natural ways.

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