Motor abnormalities are generally observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and motor difficulties are certainly evident during the early years of life and may thus precede social-communication impairments. The main aim of the present study was to examine ASD subtypes based on the relationship between motor skills and social communication abilities. Motor skills and social communication abilities were evaluated through the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Version and the Psychoeducational Profile-Third Edition. In addition, social communication abilities were classified according to the Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication-ACSF:SC criteria. We found that children with ASD presented poorer motor skills than their TD peers, and motor impairments correlated with poorer social communication abilities in children with ASD. In addition, children with lower social and communication functioning showed a more prominent impairment in manual dexterity and fine motor skills than children with better social and communication functioning. In conclusion, we suggest that stratifying children with ASD based on motor and social endophenotypes may be useful to understand the neurobiological mechanisms of ASD and lead to new types of treatment.
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