(HealthDay News) – Motor skills are impaired in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and this impairment correlates with autistic severity and IQ, according to a study published online in Autism.

Claudia List Hilton, PhD, from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues investigated the aggregation of motor impairments in families with ASD-affected children. Motor impairment was measured in sibling pairs from 67 ASD-affected families, including 29 concordant pairings and 48 discordant pairings.

The researchers found that, in ASD-affected children, motor skills were considerably impaired and associated with autistic severity and IQ. Unaffected siblings had normal motor skills. Eighty-three percent of the affected group and 6% of unaffected siblings had total motor composite scores of at least one standard deviation below the general population mean.

“The observations (a) that motor proficiency shows a substantially impaired distribution in children with ASD, (b) that the degree of motor impairment is correlated with the degree of social impairment in ASD, and (c) that motor proficiency is not impaired in unaffected siblings suggest that motor impairment constitutes a core feature of the autistic syndrome, rather than an ASD endophenotype,” the authors write.

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