Early and persistent motor difficulties in infants at-risk of developing autism spectrum disorder: A prospective study


Analyses were conducted in order to investigate motor development in younger siblings of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Infants at familial risk and low risk of developing ASD were tested longitudinally between the ages of 7 and 36 months. Data were analysed from motor scales on the Mullen Scales of Early Learning and the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales at each age point. Significantly lower motor scores in at-risk infants were evident from the age of 7 months compared to the low-risk group. Infants who were later diagnosed with ASD demonstrated significantly poorer Fine Motor skills at 36 months than at-risk infants without any developmental difficulties. In addition, Gross Motor scores were highly correlated across the two measures for low-risk infants and infants who later developed ASD. Early motor difficulties may be an early indicator of a number of neurodevelopmental disorders, including ASD. © 2014 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.