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ASD: Communication Deficits and Motor Skills

ASD Communication Deficits and Motor Skills

The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published research investigating the connection between motor skills (oral-motor, manual-motor) and speech and language deficits.  Data analysis was performed examining a registry from children with autism spectrum disorder  (n = 1781), 2–17 years of age, who completed a multidisciplinary evaluation that included diagnostic, physical, cognitive and behavioral assessments.  After adjusting for age, non-verbal IQ, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication use, and muscle tone, the data analysis revealed the following:

  • significant positive associations of fine motor skills (FM) with both expressive language and receptive language skills in an impaired FM subgroup
  • the impaired gross motor (GM) subgroup showed no association with expressive language but a significant negative association with receptive language.
  • both GM skills and FM skills were associated with social interactions.

The results suggest associations between communication skills and fine/gross motor skills in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.  This may provide another perspective regarding communication differences across the autism spectrum for use in treatment interventions.

Reference:  Mody, M., Shui, A. M., Nowinski, L. A., Golas, S. B., Ferrone, C., O’Rourke, J. A., & McDougle, C. J. (2017). Communication Deficits and the Motor System: Exploring Patterns of Associations in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(1), 155-162.

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