Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Wim Schlooz (Donders series 238)

22 January 2016

Promotors: prof. dr. H. Bekkering, prof. dr. W. Hulstijn

Drawing out the visuomotor abilities of children with mild autism spectrum disorder

Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulty learning to ride a bike, swim and often also to write fluently and legibly. Their motor development tends to show specific deviations. The main aim of our research was to gain a better insight into these youngsters’ visuomotor performance.

My studies uncovered that their very distinctive visuomotor behaviours were most dependent on an atypical visual perception, which not only differed from that of typically developing peers at a higher cognitive level but also at a more fundamental level.

Secondly, rather than to focus on severe ASD, we zoomed in on children with milder ASD variants, which are three times more prevalent. The results revealed that these children show qualitatively similar visuomotor particularities to those observed in age peers with autism, making it appropriate to offer these groups similar treatment and care.

The findings help us support all children with ASD better in their daily lives.