Friday, July 10, 2009

Connections, coordination and autism

People with autism often have trouble with their motor skills as well. Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at patterns of movement in the way autistic and normally-developing children learnt to control and use a new tool. They found that the autistic children relied much more on their own internal sense of body position (proprioception), whereas the other children used visual information. The greater the child's impairment in social skills and motor skills the greater their reliance on proprioception. The researchers' work fits in with other findings which suggest that autistic people have strong 'short-distance' connections in their brain but weaker 'long-distance' ones. The brain regions which deal with proprioception are close to the ones that govern movement while the brain regions that deal with visual-motor processing are much further away.

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