Partnership for Extraordinary Minds
  Autism/Asperger's Syndrome
Diagnostic and Educational Disability Criteria
Four Categories of Differences
Understanding Physical Differences
 
Sensory Processing
Muscle Tone and Coordination
Self-Regulation
Understanding Cognitive Differences
Understanding Social Communication Differences
Understanding Emotional Regulation Differences


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"... the most important considerations in devising educational programs for children with autistic spectrum disorders have to do with recognition of the autism spectrum as a whole, with the concomitant implications for social, communicative, and behavioral development and learning, and with the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child across areas of development."
—Educating Children with Autism, 2001
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Muscle Tone and Coordination
Individuals on the autism spectrum may have low muscle tone, weak core muscle strength, poor posture, under-developed oral-motor skills, and/or clumsy coordination. He may refuse to participate in activities he thinks will be too difficult.

  • May have low stamina for sustained physical activity
    • May resist physical activity that requires sustained effort
    • May tire easily
    • May become clumsy, and lose attention and focus
  • May have immature balance
    • May have difficulty learning to ride a bicycle, scooter
    • May have difficulty learning to propel self on a swing
  • May appear clumsy
    • May trip over her feet
    • May drop things
    • May knock things over when trying to grab them
  • May have difficulty being aware of his body in space (proprioception)
    • May run into objects or people unintentionally
    • May not be able to copy others’ physical motions
    • May stand too close to others (invade personal space)
    • May not understand how physical actions (tapping, handflapping, etc.) might annoy others
    • May get agitated in situations such as a cafeteria line or organized game where others stand close to him
  • May have difficulty with tasks that require the extension of an arm across the center of the body (crossing midline), such as swinging a bat or racket
  • May have difficulty thinking through how to complete a series of movements to achieve a desired outcome (motor planning)
    • May not be able to determine how to do a physical task like pouring milk
    • May try to hold everything at once
  • May have difficulty imitating or mirroring the physical movements of others
    • May need hands-on or hand-over-hand assistance to copy a movement
  • May be reluctant to join team sports or games, preferring solitary activities such as bike riding or swimming
  • May have delayed fine motor skills
    • May have difficulty with hand writing; writing may appear sloppy or immature for age
    • May have difficulty tying shoe laces, and using scissors and clothes fasteners such as buttons, snaps, and zippers
 
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