Longitudinal research was published evaluating the development of 20 children at risk for developing autism (older sibling diagnosed with autism). Each child was completed motor, face processing, IQ and diagnostic assessments at 9 months and 40 months of age and an additional follow up assessments at ages 5-7 years old.
The results indicated the following:
1. a higher proportion of children than expected demonstrated motor difficulties at the follow-up visit
2. the children with parental report of 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.
The researchers concluded that the data supports the idea 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 autism spectrum disorder.
Reference: Leonard, Hayley C., et al. "Motor development in children at risk of autism: a follow-up study of infant siblings." Autism 18.3 (2014): 281-291.
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