- To examine the receptive and expressive language profiles in children with ASD compared to a group of children without ASD
- To examine the fine and gross motor profiles in children with ASD compared to a group of children without ASD
- To determine the relationship, if any, between the receptive and expressive language abilities and the fine and gross motor abilities in children with ASD.
Methods: Children are referred to an interdisciplinary tertiary clinic to be evaluated for Autism as well as other developmental disabilities. Children who received the PLS-3 or PLS-4 (a language abilities assessment instrument) and the PDMS-2 (a motor abilities assessment instrument) will be included in the analyses. Predicted sample sizes are approximately 30 children in the ASD group and 30 children in the non-ASD group.
Results: Examination of pilot data suggests that compared to a non-ASD group, the expressive language abilities of children with ASD surpass their receptive language abilities. This pattern is opposite that which is found in the control group and the typical population. It is believed that fine motor skills will be related to this language pattern of children with ASD.
Conclusions: These results have potential to greatly impact the treatment and therapy of children with ASD. Specifically, language abilities may be improved with improved motor functioning. Indeed, Gernsbacher, Sauer, Geye, Schweigert, & Goldsmith (2007) found that the oral-motor skills of children with ASD were directly related to their language abilities. Those with higher fluency were able to perform more skills aptly than those with lower fluency. Thus, if improvement in oral-motor skills can potentially influence language, the same is possible for the improvement of fine motor abilities influencing language (particularly receptive language).
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