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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2007 Mar;13(2):246-56.

Motor and gestural performance in children with autism spectrum disorders, developmental coordination disorder, and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Motor and gestural skills of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were investigated. A total of 49 children with ASD, 46 children with DCD, 38 children with DCD+ADHD, 27 children with ADHD, and 78 typically developing control children participated. Motor skills were assessed with the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency Short Form, and gestural skills were assessed using a test that required children to produce meaningful gestures to command and imitation. Children with ASD, DCD, and DCD+ADHD were significantly impaired on motor coordination skills; however, only children with ASD showed a generalized impairment in gestural performance. Examination of types of gestural errors revealed that children with ASD made significantly more incorrect action and orientation errors to command, and significantly more orientation and distortion errors to imitation than children with DCD, DCD+ADHD, ADHD, and typically developing control children. These findings suggest that gestural impairments displayed by the children with ASD were not solely attributable to deficits in motor coordination skills.

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