In addition to the core characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), motor skill deficits are present, persistent, and pervasive across age. Although motor skill deficits have been indicated in young children with autism, they have not been included in the primary discussion of early intervention content. One hundred fifty-nine young children with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD (n = 110), PDD-NOS (n = 26), and non-ASD (n = 23) between the ages of 14–33 months participated in this study. The univariate general linear model tested the relationship of fine and gross motor skills and social communicative skills (using calibrated autism severity scores). Fine motor and gross motor skills significantly predicted calibrated autism severity (p < .05). Children with weaker motor skills have greater social communicative skill deficits. Future directions and the role of motor skills in early intervention are discussed.
Keywords: autism, motor skills, young children, calibrated severity