The Relationship between Motor, Imitation, and Early Social Communication Skills in Children with Autism.

Iran J Psychiatry. 2017 Oct;12(4):236-240

Authors: Dadgar H, Alaghband Rad J, Soleymani Z, Khorammi A, McCleery J, Maroufizadeh S

Objective: Development of early social skills in children is a complex process. To understand this process, it is important to assess how strengths or weaknesses in other developmental domains may be affected by these skills. The present study aimed at investigating the association of motor skills and imitation ability with early social communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method: In this study, 20 children with ASD aged 3 to 5 years (M = 4.05, SD = 0.55) participated. All children were diagnosed as ASD based on the DSM-V criteria by an independent child psychiatrist. Additionally, Autism Diagnostic interview-Revised was used for subsequent diagnostic confirmation. Children were tested with Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2), the Motor Imitation Scale (MIS), and the Early Social Communication Scales (ESCS). All examinations were videotaped for subsequent scoring. The relationship between these skills was estimated by Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: A significant and strong correlation was obtained between TGMD total score and imitation total score (r =.776; p <0.001). However, the relationship between MIS subscales and TGMD-2 locomotor subtest scores was not significant (P>0.05). A significant correlation was found between MIS and TGMD total scores with Initiating Joint Attention and Responding to Joint Attention (p≤0/025) as ESCS subscales. But MIS and TGMD total scores were not correlated with social interaction and responding to behavioral requests subscales. Conclusion: The results of the present study showed that indicated both imitation ability and motor function have an association with each other and with early social communication skills.

PMID: 29472949 [PubMed]

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