We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Motor deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder : a cross-syndrome study.

McPhillips, M. and Finlay, J. and Bejerot, S. and Hanley, M. (2014) 'Motor deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder : a cross-syndrome study.', Autism research., 7 (6). pp. 664-676.


Recent research suggests that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience some level of motor difficulty, and that this may be associated with social communication skills. However, other studies show that children with language impairments, but without the social communication problems, are at risk of motor difficulties as well. The aim of the present study was to determine if children with ASD have syndrome-specific motor deficits in comparison to children with specific language impairment (SLI). We used an independent groups design with three groups of children (8–10 years old) matched on age and nonverbal IQ: an ASD group, an SLI group, and a typically developing (TD) group. All of the children completed an individually administered, standardized motor assessment battery. We found that the TD group demonstrated significantly better motor skills than either the ASD or SLI groups. Detailed analyses of the motor subtests revealed that the ASD and SLI groups had very similar motor profiles across a range of fine and gross motor skills, with one exception. We conclude that children with ASD, and SLI, are at risk of clinically significant motor deficits. However, future behavioral and neurological studies of motor skills in children with ASD should include an SLI comparison group in order to identify possible autism-specific deficits.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Autism spectrum disorder, Specific language impairment, Motor deficit, Cross-syndrome.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is the accepted version of the following article: McPhillips, M., Finlay, J., Bejerot, S. and Hanley, M. (2014), Motor Deficits in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Cross-Syndrome Study. Autism Research, 7(6): 664-676, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Date accepted:02 August 2014
Date deposited:08 September 2015
Date of first online publication:24 September 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar