Brittany Travers, PhD

Slide of the Week: Brittany Travers, PhD

Title: Longitudinal development of grip strength in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Legend: The group with ASD demonstrated atypical motor development, characterized by similar grip strength during childhood but increasingly weaker grip strength from adolescence into adulthood. Grip strength was associated with adaptive daily living skills both concurrently and 8 years into the future, suggesting that weaker grip strength may relate to how independently individuals with ASD can perform their daily activities.

Citation: Travers BG, Bigler ED, Duffield TC, Prigge MD, Froehlich AL, Lange N, Alexander AL, Lainhart JE. (2016). Longitudinal development of manual motor ability in autism spectrum disorder from childhood to mid-adulthood relates to adaptive daily living skills.Developmental Science. doi: 10.1111/desc.12401. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit motor difficulties, but it is unknown whether manual motor skills improve, plateau, or decline in ASD in the transition from childhood into adulthood. Atypical development of manual motor skills could impact the ability to learn and perform daily activities across the life span. This study examined longitudinal grip strength and finger tapping development in individuals with ASD (n = 90) compared to individuals with typical development (n = 56), ages 5 to 40 years old. We further examined manual motor performance as a possible correlate of current and future daily living skills. The group with ASD demonstrated atypical motor development, characterized by similar performance during childhood but increasingly poorer performance from adolescence into adulthood. Grip strength was correlated with current adaptive daily living skills, and Time 1 grip strength predicted daily living skills eight years into the future. These results suggest that individuals with ASD may experience increasingly more pronounced motor difficulties from adolescence into adulthood and that manual motor performance in ASD is related to adaptive daily living skills.

About the lab:  The Motor Brain and Development Lab is dedicated to advancing knowledge about motor development, brain development, and independent living skills to promote and enhance quality of life for individuals with and without developmental disorders.

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