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Ingrid Bertilsson, doktorand

Kort om Ingrids forskning

Arbete: leg. fysioterapeut vid Habilitering Skövde
Universitetsanknytning: Lunds universitet
Forskningsprojekt: Understanding one’s body and movements - from the perspective of young adults with autism

Understanding one’s body and movements - from the perspective of young adults with autism


Even if people with autism may have deviant sensory processing and deficient motor control mechanisms, there is little knowledge about how they experience body and movements.

Aims and method

The first aim was to explore the narratives from 16-22 years-old with autism (n=11), about experiences of body and movements.

The second aim was to study if two physiotherapeutic instruments; Bruininks Oseretskys test of Motor Proficiency v2 (assessing movement quantity) and Body Awareness Scale Movement Quality and Experiences (assessing movement quality), could capture these experiences, in a mixed-methods design.


The narratives revealed that conflicting feelings about their bodies and movements may lead to low understanding of themselves:

“I don’t seem to understand my body ... I didn’t understand my body better then [growing up] than I do now.”

Body ownership and agency were compromised when the impressions from body and movements were described as difficult to understand:

“I sometimes make movements too hastily in my body, arms, and legs and such. Then ...why did this happen? My head short circuits, I don’t quite know what happens. Why does it happen?”

Better movement quality led to experiencing positive feelings about body and movement:

“My body is my body and no one else has a similar body as mine … it is unique.”

The combination of assessing motor proficiency and body awareness presented both movement quality and quantity and was optimal for understanding the participants’ experiences.


Being able to understand oneʼs body and movement played a major part in bodily experiences and abilities. A lack of this understanding may have suppressed the development of bodily self-consciousness for the participants.


  • Development of a bodily self-consciousness is hindered in people with autism.
  • Movement quality rather than movement quantity relates to optimal bodily self-consciousness, positive feelings about your body and experiencing it as supportive in daily activities.
  • Combined assessments of movement quality and quantity give valuable information for intervention.


Bertilsson et al. (2018) Understanding one´s body and movements from the perspective of young adults with autism: a mixed-methods study. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2018, 78, 44-54.

The study was approved by the Regional Ethics Board in Gothenburgh, Sweden.

Presented at the WCPT Congress 2019, Geneva, Switzerland. 

Ingrid Bertilsson, Amanda Lundvik Gyllensten, Arve Opheim, Gunvor Gard, Catharina Sjödahl Hammarlund



Senast uppdaterad: 2020-12-03 07:08