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Front Psychol. 2018 Jun 5;9:901. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00901. eCollection 2018.

Balance Performance in Autism: A Brief Overview.

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Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Children with autism not only have limited social and communicative skills but also have motor abnormalities, such as poor timing and coordination of balance. Moreover, impaired gross motor skills hamper participation with peers. Balance control is interesting from a cognitive science perspective, since it involves a complex interplay between information processing, motor planning, and timing and sequencing of muscle movements. In this paper, we discuss the background of motor problems in children with autism, focusing on how posture is informed by sensory information processing. We also discuss the neurobiological basis of balance problems, and how this is related to anxiety in this group. We then discuss possible avenues for treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms, especially as regards movement-related interventions. Finally, we present a theoretical outlook and discuss whether some of the symptoms in ASD can be understood from an embodied cognition perspective.


anxiety; autism; embodied cognition; postural control; sensory integration

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