The relationships between motor skills and executive functions in children with and without autism spectrum disorder

Chien Yu Pan, Ming Chih Sung, Chia Liang Tsai, Fu Chen Chen, Yung Ju Chen, Chih Chia Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To date, information on associations between motor skills and executive functions (EF) in autistic children is limited. The purpose of this study was to compare motor skills and EF performance between autistic children and typically developing (TD) children and to examine the relationships between motor skills and EF in these two groups. Forty-eight autistic children and 48 TD children aged 6 to 12 years were recruited for this study. Motor skills were measured with the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 (BOT-2). EF was assessed with the Stroop Color and Word Test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST), and the Test of Attentional Performance: Go/No-go test. Independent sample t-tests were used to compare the BOT-2 scores and EF measures between autistic children and TD children. Pearson product–moment correlation and regressions were conducted to assess the relationships between the BOT-2 scores and the EF measures for each group. Results showed that autistic children scored significantly lower than TD children on all four BOT-2 composite scores and a total motor composite. Autistic children also demonstrated significantly lower levels of performance on all EF measures than TD children. Further, autistic children showed more significant associations between motor skills and EF than TD children, particularly pronounced in the domains of fine manual control and manual coordination to cognitive flexibility, as well as manual coordination and inhibitory control. Continued development of motor skills and EF in autistic children is important. The relationships between motor skills and EF were significant among autistic children, suggesting future research on promoting EF through motor skill interventions in autistic children is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1160
Number of pages12
JournalAutism Research
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)

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