Shuffling babies and autism spectrum disorder

Brain Dev. 2021 Feb;43(2):181-185. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2020.08.007. Epub 2020 Aug 30.


Background and purpose: Bottom shuffling is a locomotion strategy that precedes independent walking in some infants. Shuffling babies are generally considered to have favorable outcomes. The aim of the present study was to reveal clinical features and neurodevelopmental outcomes of shuffling babies who visited a child developmental center.

Methods: We studied 48 shuffling babies who visited Toyota Municipal Child Development Center from April 2007 to March 2015. We excluded patients with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or congenital disorders. In 2018, we retrospectively reviewed the clinical charts of the enrolled children. We investigated family history, neurological findings, and the developmental outcome during the follow-up period.

Results: During the follow-up period, 20 children (42%) were diagnosed with ASD. Gross motor development in infancy was not different between infants with and without ASD. The rate of poor eye contact at the first visit and a delay in the first word speech were significantly higher in infants with ASD than in infants without ASD. A family history of bottom shuffling was significantly less frequent in infants with ASD (10%) than in those without (39%).

Conclusion: Some of bottom shufflers may represent ASD during follow-up. Paying attention to social and cognitive functions in shuffling babies is important.

Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder; Bottom shuffling; Developmental disability.

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / metabolism
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies