Physical autism signs
Physical autism signs vary in children on the autism spectrum. One or more than one of these key physical elements are clues that your child might be on the autism spectrum. It is important that you see your child’s pediatrician to ask questions so that you can start the process of your child’s recovery. Most diagnosis of Autism is due to environmental and biological factors. There is hope for recovery if these are the causes. The key physical autism signs are lack of eye contact, not pointing, walking on tip toes, repetitive opening and closing of drawers and doors, lining up toys and not playing with the toys in meaningful ways and sitting like a “W”. Sitting like a W and walking on tip toes is an indication of sensory issue.
My son walked on his toes and also sat in a “W” shape. However, many children who sit in this way are not necessarily on the autism spectrum. They could have what is called joint hypermobility. It is important to note that these children can be late in their developmental milestones like crawling, sitting and standing and may start to walk after they are passed 1 year old. This is important to know so that your child is not mis-diagnosed. Hypermobility has an impact on the child’s motor control hence the autism connection.
Some particular physical signs of autism in children on the spectrum like sitting in a W shape could be a compensation for weak back and neck muscles. I am of the opinion that this way of sitting provides more stability and security for children who have low muscle tone or floppiness. You can read more about this at http://www.skillsforaction.com/autism-spectrum-disorders
We know that children on the autism spectrum have difficulties processing sensory information. It is also true that they are good at detecting signals from the joints and muscles, but not so good at integrating all of this information coming in. I believe that walking on tip toes is an over-compensation for that challenge of integrating information. This makes toe walking in my opinion a sensory issue and not tightness of the muscle. Some might disagree. I am not a scientist but I make observations as a Mom of a child on the Autism spectrum.
Our children are trying so hard to figure things out. It’s in their nature and our nature to be better and to do better. It is incumbent upon us to help them recover with the proper diagnosis and treatments.