Age of First Walking and Associations with Symptom Severity in Children with Suspected or Diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2020, 50 (9), 3216-3232. 10.1007/s10803-019-04112-y
Age of first walking (AOW) is reported to be later in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with typical development. However, the relationship between AOW and variations in ASD symptoms across different neurodevelopmental disorders is largely unknown. This study investigated AOW and its association with autism symptom severity in a large sample of children (N = 490, 23% females) clinically evaluated for suspected ASD, differentiated into ASD (n = 376) and non-ASD (n = 114) diagnoses. Children with ASD achieved independent walking significantly later than children with non-ASD diagnoses. AOW was significantly associated with ASD symptom severity, and females had a non-significant later AOW. The current findings suggest that in cases with delayed AOW, ASD should be considered as an actual differential diagnosis, perhaps particularly in girls.