Motor Characteristics of Young Children Referred for Possible Autism Spectrum Disorder

Lane, Alison PhD, OTR/L; Harpster, Karen PhD, OTR/L; Heathcock, Jill MPT, PhD

Pediatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e071a
Research Articles
Abstract

Purpose: To examine motor characteristics of children referred for evaluation for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (BSID-III).

Methods: BSID-III scores were collected through retrospective chart review for 30 children (mean age = 31.57 ± 6 months) admitted to an outpatient autism evaluation clinic.

Results: Children referred to an ASD clinic demonstrated a mean delay of 6 months for gross motor skills and 8 months for fine motor skills. There were no differences in total score or item analysis in group comparisons of motor characteristics in young children who did or did not receive a diagnosis of ASD.

Conclusions: These results suggest that a delay in fine and gross motor skills at an early age is a characteristic of infants referred to an ASD clinic. Furthermore, the BSID-III may not be sensitive enough to distinguish between referred children with and without ASD.

In Brief

A delay in fine and gross motor skills at an early age is a characteristic of infants referred to an ASD clinic, but the BSID-III may not be sensitive enough to distinguish between children with and without ASD.

Author Information

Division of Occupational Therapy (Dr Lane) and Division of Physical Therapy (Dr Heathcock), School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; Occupational Therapy Research, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Dr Harpster), Cincinnati, Ohio.

Jill C. Heathcock, MPT, PhD, Infant Laboratory, The Ohio State University, Division of Physical Therapy, 453 W. 10th Ave, Columbus, OH, 43210 (jill.heathcock@osumc.edu).

Karen Harpster was a PhD student in training while the work and writing of this manuscript were completed.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.