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Brief Report: Postural Balance and Daily Living Skills in Children and Adolescents with Autism

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The current study investigated the relation between postural balance and performance of daily living skills (DLS) in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Fifty-two youth with ASD (6–17 years; IQ ≥ 67) completed standardized balance testing and parent-reported DLS measures. Results showed a positive association between balance and DLS that was specific to youth with below-average IQ. While balance challenges were evident across the IQ spectrum, youth with above-average IQ did not exhibit an association between balance and DLS, perhaps suggestive of compensatory strategies implemented to offset balance challenges during daily-living tasks. These results underscore the need to better understand the contributions of motor challenges to DLS in youth with ASD within the context of broader cognitive and environmental factors.

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This work was supported by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s NARSAD Young Investigator Award [to BGT], the Hartwell Foundation’s Individual Biomedical Award [to BGT], and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [P30 HD003352 and U54 HD090256 to the Waisman Center]. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health & Development or the National Institutes of Health. We thank Sarah Brill, Sarah Crook, Olga Dadalko, Ashley Dinges, Dana Dobbe, Nikki Erickson, Isabelle Gallagher, Andres Gomez, Larissa Hacker, Lauren Hoover, Sarah Jacquot, Brooke Koehn, Jenna Lent, Nicole Marczak, Rachel Matz, Kristine McLaughlin, Claire Melin, Molly Pearcy, Carli Peters, Kirstin Peters, Katie Phillips, Jenna Radke, Kailey Sabel, Rachel Samz, Sean Sekelsky, Michele Severson, Olivia Surgent, Elise Suttner, Josh Tarnoff, Desiree Taylor, Jake Tenaglia, David Turner, Amin Tmimi, Caitie Van Sloun, Matthew Walczak, Shannon Wittel, and Oskar Zarzycki for their contributions to this project. We sincerely thank all the families who participated in this study.

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Authors and Affiliations



All authors participated in the conception, design, coordination, analysis, and interpretation of the data. All authors assisted in drafting the manuscript. BGT oversaw all aspects of the study and finalized data analysis, interpretation, and the drafting of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brittany G. Travers.

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Conflict of interest

All the authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This project was approved the University of Wisconsin-Madison Education and Social/Behavioral Science Institutional Review Board (protocol #2014-1248) and Health Sciences Institutional Review Board (protocols #2014-1499 and #2016-0441).

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Fisher, A., Engel, C., Geist, R. et al. Brief Report: Postural Balance and Daily Living Skills in Children and Adolescents with Autism. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 3210–3215 (2018).

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