The primary aim of this study was to kinematically assess how children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) plan and control their handwriting actions. Forty-three boys aged between 8 to 12 years were included in the present analysis; 23 with ASD and 20 typically developing (TD) controls. Sophisticated objective and quantifiable assessment of movement metrics and dynamics was applied across a series of basic cursive handwriting sequences. Children with ASD demonstrated atypical control of handwriting metrics and dynamics, as well as significantly greater neuromotor noise relative to age-matched peers. They also engaged in less regular monitoring and regulation of their movement during the handwriting task.
Overall, results revealed that even at a basic level, children with ASD appear to have a breakdown in their ability to control and regulate their handwriting movements. This has important implications for the school-aged child who constantly engages in handwriting tasks within the classroom environment and provides insight into possible directions for future intervention.