What are motion anomalies in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2019
  • Author: James Robert Brasic, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
  • Print

Motion anomalies are a prominent feature in a subset of individuals and have been reported at birth in some persons with autism. Motion analysis may provide evidence of autism in early infancy, before other manifestations occur. [11]

The motion anomalies demonstrated by children with autism are often highly characteristic and noticeable. An example of a motion typical in autism occurs when the child places a hand with fingers separately outstretched before the eyes and rapidly moves the hand back and forth. A similar experience results from moving up and down while gazing through the slats of Venetian blinds. This action is described as self-stimulation because it produces a visual sensation of movement. (See Presentation.)

Many of the motions of children with autism appear to be attempts to provide themselves with sensory input in a barren environment. Through special education, children may learn to suppress the movements, although these may subsequently be exhibited at times of particular stress or excitement.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!