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Neurology. 2010 Nov 16;75(20):1825-9. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181fd633d.

Perceptual reasoning predicts handwriting impairments in adolescents with autism.

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1
Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We have previously shown that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have specific handwriting deficits consisting of poor form, and that these deficits are predicted by their motor abilities. It is not known whether the same handwriting impairments persist into adolescence and whether they remain linked to motor deficits.

METHODS:

A case-control study of handwriting samples from adolescents with and without ASD was performed using the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment. Samples were scored on an individual letter basis in 5 categories: legibility, form, alignment, size, and spacing. Subjects were also administered an intelligence test and the Physical and Neurological Examination for Subtle (Motor) Signs (PANESS).

RESULTS:

We found that adolescents with ASD, like children, show overall worse performance on a handwriting task than do age- and intelligence-matched controls. Also comparable to children, adolescents with ASD showed motor impairments relative to controls. However, adolescents with ASD differ from children in that Perceptual Reasoning Indices were significantly predictive of handwriting performance whereas measures of motor skills were not.

CONCLUSIONS:

Like children with ASD, adolescents with ASD have poor handwriting quality relative to controls. Despite still demonstrating motor impairments, in adolescents perceptual reasoning is the main predictor of handwriting performance, perhaps reflecting subjects' varied abilities to learn strategies to compensate for their motor impairments.

PMID:
21079184
PMCID:
PMC2995383
DOI:
10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181fd633d
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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