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In the literature, a delay in the development and acquisition of motor skills is generally described in children with
autism spectrum disorder, affecting between 50% and 80% of this population. In spite of this high frequency of occurrence, motor difficulties are not yet considered in the same way as the core deficits of this disorder (difficulties in
social interaction, communication and behavior); addictionaly, there is not yet enough research about the efficacy of
a specific intervention that can support the development of motor functions compromised in autism.
Recent findings, which support the correlation between motor domain and other areas of development (social and
cognitive), together with other evidence that underline the benefits of practicing motor activities on the individual’s
well-being, lead us to re-evaluate the effects of motor intervention for autism.
To define the salient points of this kind of intervention, with particular attention to rehabilitation practice, a literature
search was carried out on four different databases, which sifted through 602 bibliographic citations and found 10
studies that were able to meet the set research purposes.
This review showed that physical activity in autistic children not only improves motor performance, but also plays an
important role in the social, cognitive and behavioural development, as well as helping to reduce some secondary or
associated symptoms, such as stereotypies or sleep disorders.
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