Motor development in children at risk of autism: A follow-up study of infant siblings

Leonard, Hayley C.; Bedford, Rachael; Charman, Tony; Elsabbagh, Mayada; Hill, Elisabeth L. and Basis Team, The. 2014. Motor development in children at risk of autism: A follow-up study of infant siblings. Autism, 18(3), pp. 281-291. ISSN 1362-3613 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Recently, evidence of poor or atypical motor skills in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has led some to argue that motor impairment is a core feature of the condition. The current study uses a longitudinal prospective design to assess the development of motor skills of twenty children at increased risk of developing ASD, who were recruited and tested at 9 and 40 months old, on the basis of having an older sibling diagnosed with the condition. All children completed a range of motor, face processing, IQ and diagnostic assessments at a follow-up visit (aged 5-7 years), providing a detailed profile of development in this group from a number of standardised, parental report and experimental measures. A higher proportion of children than expected demonstrated motor difficulties at the follow-up visit, and those highlighted by parental report as having poor motor skills as infants and toddlers were also more likely to have lower face processing scores and elevated autism-related social symptoms at 5-7 years, despite having similar IQ levels. These data lend support to the argument that early motor difficulties may be a risk factor for later motor impairment as well as differences in social communication and cognition, traits that are related to ASD.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder, motor development, infant siblings, face processing, Broader Autism Phenotype

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April 2014Published
7 October 2013Published Online

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Date Deposited:

30 Nov 2012 13:23

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2021 23:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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