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Differentiation of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Disorder Based on Neuromotor Behaviour

Abstract

Autism and Asperger’s disorder (AD) are characterised by impairments in social interaction, stereotypic behaviours or restricted interests. Although currently listed as distinct clinical disorders, the validity of their distinction remains controversial. This study examined gait in children with autism and AD. Eleven children with high-functioning autism and eleven children with AD completed a series of walking tasks. Results indicated distinct movement disturbance; these findings are discussed in light of seminal papers in this field by Vilensky et al. (Arch Neurol 38:646–649, 1981) and Hallett et al. (Arch Neurol 50:1304–1308, 1993) who interpret the gait of individuals with autism using parkinsonian and cerebellar-ataxia patient models, respectively. Distinctions in gait patterns implicating perhaps unique motor circuit disturbances support the hypothesis that autism and AD may have unique neurodevelopmental trajectories.

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Acknowledgments

Many thanks to the parents and children from the Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology at Monash University, as well as all other parents and children who participated in this research.

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Correspondence to Nicole J. Rinehart.

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Nayate, A., Tonge, B.J., Bradshaw, J.L. et al. Differentiation of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Disorder Based on Neuromotor Behaviour. J Autism Dev Disord 42, 707–717 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1299-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1299-5

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Asperger’s disorder
  • Gait
  • Movement
  • Neurobiological
  • Walking