Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers collaborated to examine the “patterns of movement as children with autism and typically developing children learned to control a novel tool” (Science Daily). Children with autism “appear to learn new actions differently than do typically developing children,” which is significant in assessing how one might teach a child with autism to use various methods of exploration (Science Daily).
The children with autism, compared to their typically developing peers, “relied much more on their own internal sense of body position (proprioception), rather than visual information coming from the external world to learn new patterns of movement” (Science Daily). Researchers also noted that “the greater a child’s reliance on proprioception, the greater the child’s impairment in social skills, motor skills and imitation” (Science Daily).
Children with autism struggle with motor skills, which are thought to be associated with abnormalities in the ways in which the brain learns motor actions. The study’s Dr. Stewart H. Mostofsky, study author and a pediatric neurologist in the Department of Developmental and Cognitive Neurology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, stated that this study illustrates that “targeted interventions can be developed that enhance visuo-motor associations in children with autism as they learn new skills.” Dr. Mostofsky adds,
“If done early enough, this could help to improve development of motor, social and communicative skills in children with autism. Further, it could also improve their ability to understand social cues because the brain systems critical to forming internal models of behavior that guide our actions are also critical to developing an understanding of the meaning of those actions.”
Autism may be associated with abnormalities in the brain, specifically “over development of short range white matter connections between neighboring brain regions and underdevelopment of short distance connections between distant brain regions” (Science Daily). This study’s findings “are consistent with this pattern of abnormal connectivity, as the brain regions involved in proprioception are closely linked to motor areas, while visual-motor processing depends on more distant connections” (Science Daily).
BRAINJOGGING CAN HELP: Brainjogging strengthens neural connections and teaches children with autism to develop visual and motor skills. Brainjogging has not had ONE child with autism whose parents and other loved ones were not overjoyed with the child’s progress! Brainjogging’s cognitive therapists teach children with autism to “look with your eyes” and “keep your eyes on your work.” These children tend to attempt to color or write without looking at their paper or while constantly allowing their eyes to flick upward. Brainjogging strives not only to tune children’s proprioception so that it is more acute, but also to help them coordinate proprioception with visual cues.