Motor Coordination in Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Synthesis and Meta-Analysis
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Are motor coordination deficits an underlying cardinal feature of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)? Database searches identified 83 ASD studies focused on motor coordination, arm movements, gait, or postural stability deficits. Data extraction involved between-group comparisons for ASD and typically developing controls (N = 51). Rigorous meta-analysis techniques including random effects models, forest and funnel plots, I2, publication bias, fail-safe analysis, and moderator variable analyses determined a significant standardized mean difference effect equal to 1.20 (SE = 0.144; p < 0.0001; Z = 10.49). This large effect indicated substantial motor coordination deficits in the ASD groups across a wide range of behaviors. The current overall findings portray motor coordination deficits as pervasive across diagnoses, thus, a cardinal feature of ASD.