The Relationship between Motor, Imitation, and Early Social Communication Skills in Children with Autism
Background: The aim of this study was investigation the association of motor skills and imitation ability with early social communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Method: Twenty children with ASD aged 3-5 years (M=4.05, SD=0.55) were tested with Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD-2), the Motor Imitation Scale (MIS) and, the Early Social Communication Scales (ESCS).
Results: There was significant and strong correlation 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 ESCS subscales except social interaction and responding to behavioral requests subscales.
Conclusion: The results support previous studies that indicated both imitation ability and motor function have association with some early social communication skills. However, these results showed the needs for clinicians to target imitation and motor skills in early intervention programs in ASD.
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