Handwriting is commonly identified as an area of weakness in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but precise deficits have not been fully characterised. Boys with ASD (n = 23) and matched controls (n = 20) aged 8–12 years completed a simple, digitised task to objectively assess handwriting performance using advanced descriptive measures. Moderate to large associations were identified between handwriting performance and attention, ASD symptoms and motor proficiency. The ASD group demonstrated significantly less smooth movements and significantly greater sizing variability and peak velocity relative to controls. These findings provide a clearer indication of the specific nature of handwriting impairments in children with ASD, and suggest a relationship with core clinical symptom severity, attention and motor behaviours.