Motor competency and social communication skills in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder

Francesco Craig, Alessandro Lorenzo, Elisabetta Lucarelli, Luigi Russo, Isabella Fanizza, Antonio Trabacca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to investigate the association between motor competency and social communication in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared with children with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and typically developing (TD) children. Motor competency, ASD symptoms, and nonverbal Intelligent Quotient (IQ) were investigated through the following tests: Movement Assessment Battery for Children, second edition (MABC-2), Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC) and Leiter International Performances Scale Revised (Leiter-R). The ASD+ID and ID groups had lower MABC-2-manual dexterity mean scores, MABC-2-aiming and catching mean scores, MABC-2-static and dynamic balance mean scores and MABC-2-TTS compared with the TD group (P<0.05). In addition, the ASD+ID group had lower MABC-2-aiming and catching mean scores compared with the ID group. In the ASD+ID group, we found a significant negative correlation (P<0.001) between MABC-2-aiming and catching scores with SCQ scores, nonverbal IQ and ACSF:SC levels. Our findings provide new insight into the common neuropsychological mechanisms underlying social communication and motor deficits in ASD. Multiple deficits in motor functioning may be present in ASD and ID, however deficits involving the ability to integrate motor and social cues are somewhat specific to ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-902
JournalAutism Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Motor skills
  • Social cognition
  • Social communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Motor competency and social communication skills in preschool children with autism spectrum disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this