Eshkol-Wachman movement notation in diagnosis: the early detection of Asperger's syndrome

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Aug 10;101(32):11909-14. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0403919101. Epub 2004 Jul 28.


The diagnostic criteria of Asperger's syndrome (AS), considered a part of the autistic spectrum disorder, are still unclear. A critical marker, which distinguishes AS from autism, is the presence of language. The ability of a child with AS to acquire and use language early results in the fact that AS usually is diagnosed much later than autism. Autism is not usually diagnosed until around the age of 3, whereas AS usually is not diagnosed until the child is 6 or 7 years of age. In the present article, using Eshkol-Wachman movement notation, we present evidence that abnormal movement patterns can be detected in AS in infancy. This finding suggests that AS can be diagnosed very early, independent of the presence of language. As shown earlier by us, almost all of the movement disturbances in autism can be interpreted as infantile reflexes "gone astray"; i.e., some reflexes are not inhibited at the appropriate age in development, whereas others fail to appear when they should. This phenomenon appears to apply to AS as well. Based on preliminary results, a simple test using one such reflex is proposed for the early detection of a subgroup of children with AS or autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asperger Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Asperger Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Locomotion
  • Mobius Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Motor Activity
  • Movement Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Movement*
  • Posture
  • Videotape Recording