A recent report from Autistica estimates that nearly a quarter (24%) of children with autism are non-verbal or minimally verbal — problems that can persist into adulthood.
A review of over 200 published papers and more than 60 different intervention studies has now concluded that:
- Motor behaviors play a key role in language learning.
- Children with autism show specific motor impairments, and less "mirroring" brain activity.
- There is very little evidence that sign language training helps.
- Picture exchange training can help.
- Play-based approaches which employ explicit teaching strategies and are developmentally based are particularly successful.
- New studies involving a focus on motor skills show promising preliminary results.
The paper can be freely downloaded at http://www.frontiersin.org/Integrative_Neuroscience/10.3389/fnint.2013.00030/abstract
(2013). Motor development and motor resonance difficulties in autism: relevance to early intervention for language and communication skills.
Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 7,