Motor impairments are frequently reported in association with autism. However, the mechanisms responsible for these problems are poorly understood.
In a recent study, Courtenay Haswell and colleagues investigated the ability of children with autism to learn a motor action, to counteract a perturbing force, and to generalize learning to other 'workspaces'.
Participants played a game in which they had to 'catch' animals on a computer display by moving a robotic arm which controlled the cursor on a projected display. Trials varied according to the starting position of the arm ('workspace') and the direction of motion required to capture the animal.