Examine the rate, predictors, and effect on daily life skills of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and other motor control difficulties in school age girls with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in preschool age girls with ASD referred to a neuropsychiatric clinic, and in a community sample of school age girls. The girls (131 in total) were examined with standardised test of motor function and parent interviews and questionnaires. The school girls were compared with 57 age-and IQ-matched girls from the community. DCD was diagnosed in 25% of clinic school girls with ASD, in 32% of those with ADHD, and in 80% of the clinic preschool girls with ASD. Parents reported more motor problems in the school age clinic group. Agreement between a brief motor screening test and a full comprehensive motor examination was moderate to good in the clinic group. Young age, autistic symptomatology, and low performance IQ predicted more motor coordination problems. Motor coordination problems were related to lower ability in daily life skills even when the effect of PIQ was controlled for. A large minority of school girls with ASD and/or ADHD, and a majority of preschool girls with ASD meet full diagnostic criteria for DCD. Their motor problems contribute to reduced activity in daily life even when the effects of IQ have been partialled out.
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