Prevalence of Motor Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Analysis of a Population-Based Cohort

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Licari, MK
Alvares, GA
Varcin, K
Evans, KL
Cleary, D
Reid, SL
Glasson, EJ
Bebbington, K
Reynolds, JE
Wray, J
Whitehouse, AJO
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2020
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Abstract

Motor impairment is not currently included in the diagnostic criteria or evaluation of autism. This reflects the lack of large‐scale studies demonstrating its prominence to advocate for change. We examined the prevalence of motor difficulties at the time of diagnosis in a large sample of children with autism utilizing standardized assessment, and the relationship between motor difficulties, core autism symptomology, and other prominent clinical features. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales were administered to children from the Western Australian Register for Autism Spectrum Disorders aged ≤6 years (N = 2,084; 81.2% males, 18.8% females). Prevalence of motor difficulties was quantified based on scores from the motor domain of the Vineland and then compared to other domains of functioning within the Vineland (communication, daily living, and socialization), the DSM criteria, intellectual level, age, and gender. Scores on the Vineland indicated that 35.4% of the sample met criteria for motor difficulties (standard score <70), a rate almost as common as intellectual impairment (37.7%). Motor difficulties were reported by diagnosing clinicians in only 1.34% of cases. Motor difficulties were common in those cases meeting diagnostic criteria for impairments in nonverbal behavior and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors. The prevalence of motor difficulties also increased with increasing age of diagnosis (P < 0.001). Findings from the present study highlight the need for further consideration of motor difficulties as a distinct specifier within the diagnostic criteria for ASD.

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Autism Research
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13
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2
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Clinical sciences
Neurosciences
Psychology
autism spectrum disorder
developmental disabilities
motor disorders
motor skills
movement
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Licari, MK; Alvares, GA; Varcin, K; Evans, KL; Cleary, D; Reid, SL; Glasson, EJ; Bebbington, K; Reynolds, JE; Wray, J; Whitehouse, AJO, Prevalence of Motor Difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Analysis of a Population-Based Cohort, Autism Research, 2020, 13 (2), pp. 298-306
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