Early Intervention and School-based
Physical therapy is often overlooked as a service for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication and behavior, as well as motor function. In children who are typically developing, the development of social, communication, and cognitive skills is thought to be influenced by motor development. However, the impact of motor skill deficits on overall development in children with ASD is not well understood. This session will present recent research on the relationship between motor development and social function in young children with ASD, highlighting specific components of motor development that are related to social function. This session will move beyond discussion of motor benefits to physical therapy intervention and challenge attendees to think outside the box as they move toward participation-based approaches. Implications for early intervention and school-based physical therapists will also be discussed.