Motor differences

Autistic people have different motor skills than non-autistic people. Motor skills are how people control the way their body moves. Your body moves in big and small ways. Some big ways are running or swimming, and some small ways are writing or tying your shoes. Motor skills are also a part of talking, since moving your mouth to make sounds is a motor skill.

Not every autistic person has big differences in motor skills. Many autistic people have small motor differences, and we might not realize we have them! Motor differences can make someone have messy handwriting, be clumsy, or walk differently than other people.

Autistic people can have different kinds of motor problems, like:

  • Planning how you are going to move
  • Having trouble starting or stopping when you move
  • Bumping into things, tripping, or dropping things

Here’s an example:

Alexis is autistic. She is sitting on the couch, and wants to get up and eat cereal. There are many things that might be hard for her. First, she has to stand up, then she has to walk to the kitchen. After that, she has to get the cereal, a bowl, and a spoon, and pour the cereal into the bowl.

Alexis has to think about all the steps before she can do them. She has trouble remembering what the steps are, and may not know what order they go in. She may have a hard time getting up from the couch. Once she starts moving, she may have a hard time stopping at the kitchen. She may drop the cereal or the bowl when she tries to get them.

There are lots of people like Alexis. Maybe you also have trouble with these things.