Relation between early motor delay and later communication delay in infants at risk for autism

A. N. Bhat, J. C. Galloway, R. J. Landa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Motor delays have been reported in retrospective studies of young infants who later develop Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Objective: In this study, we prospectively compared the gross motor development of a cohort at risk for ASDs; infant siblings of children with ASDs (AU sibs) to low risk typically developing (LR) infants. Methods: 24 AU sibs and 24 LR infants were observed at 3 and 6 months using a standardized motor measure, the Alberta Infant Motor Scale (AIMS). In addition, as part of a larger study, the AU sibs also received a follow-up assessment to determine motor and communication performance at 18 months using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Results: Significantly more AU sibs showed motor delays at 3 and 6 months than LR infants. The majority of the AU sibs showed both early motor delays and later communication delays. Limitations: Small sample size and limited follow-up. Conclusions: Early motor delays are more common in AU sibs than LR infants. Communication delays later emerged in 67-73% of the AU sibs who had presented with early motor delays. Overall, early motor delays may be predictive of future communication delays in children at risk for autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-846
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Communication
  • Early identification
  • Infants
  • Language
  • Motor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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