Helping Preschoolers with Aspergers Improve Gross Motor
written by: Cheryl Gabbert
• edited by: Sarah Malburg
• updated: 7/12/2012
Children with Aspergers Syndrome are often challenged with poor gross motor coordination skills. Preschoolers with Aspergers Syndrome may have difficulty with basic gross motor skills. These skills can be practiced in many ways. Here are some tips for facilitating gross motor development.
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Gross Motor Skills and Aspergers
Gross motor skills are typically delayed in preschoolers with Aspergers Syndrome. One of the common characteristics of Aspergers Disorder is overall clumsy gross motor movements. This may affect the development of some skills that are usually perfected at the preschool age. Teachers should administer some form of periodic testing to assess the challenges the student is facing in gross motor development. This will enable the teacher to plan effective gross motor goals. The focus for a preschool teacher should be to bring the child to a higher level of participation. Preschoolers love to run, jump, skip, climb, and ride a tricycle. Bringing students to a level of participation in the activities preschoolers typically engage in increases the probability that the student will interact socially with his typical peers. Social interaction through play is also a challenge for children with Aspergers disorder, and removing the barriers of gross motor delays increases the probability that the child will interact well with his peers.
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Gross Motor Skills and Aspergers
Facilitate the development of gross motor skills in preschoolers with Aspergers disorder with play. Since peer acceptance during social and play situations can be a challenge anyway, kids with Aspergers can really benefit from developing better gross motor skills on the playground. Play opportunities on the playground facilitate gross motor as well as social interaction. "Big toy" climbing stations are great fun for kids, and many skills are developed during play on this popular playground apparatus. A swinging bridge helps strengthen walking skills, while slide ladders provide a fun way to meet climbing goals. Swings are great too. Teach preschoolers to "pump" their own swings, building up leg muscles in the process. Play hopscotch with some colorful sidewalk chalk and a bean bag. Have the child bend over with one leg up to pick up the bean bag. Skipping and galloping races are also great playground gross motor activities. Circle soccer can be played with the whole group. Make a big circle and throw a soccer ball into the circle. The children will kick the ball around with the goal being to keep the ball in the circle. It's a fun way to practice kicking skills with a game. A basketball goal set up for young children with a lowered basket is another great playground gross motor activity for kids with Aspergers. Even a simple game of tag can give preschool kids great opportunities to practice running.
When planning gross motor goals for children with Aspergers Disorder, teachers should plan to address the overall clumsiness that is typically seen with a variety of activities that improve overall gross motor skills. Play is the best way to improve gross motor development with preschool age children. Gross motor skills can be perfected through everyday play situations, bridging any gaps that may exist in basic skill development.