A quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Review International is quarterly publication of the Autism Research Institute

Summer, 2019 | Number 3, Volume 33

Age at which children with ASD walk correlates with severity of symptoms

Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) tend to walk later than neurotypical children, and a study from Norway reports that the age at which children with ASD first walk correlates with the severity of their symptoms. 

Lise Reindal and colleagues analyzed data on 490 children clinically evaluated for suspected ASD. They compared the children who received an ASD diagnosis to those who did not, and compared both groups to population norms for children in Norway. 

The researchers found that children in the ASD group walked significantly later than those in the non-ASD group, and that later walking was significantly associated with ASD symptom severity. In addition, they report, “Whereas age of first walking was significantly later in males with ASD compared with non-ASD diagnosis, females with autistic symptoms seem to have a liability toward later age of first walking, regardless of ASD diagnosis.” 

The researchers comment, “Recognizing that autistic symptoms may be difficult to interpret at an early age, assessing early motor delays and specifically age of first walking may have the potential to improve earlier identification of some cases with ASD, and perhaps particularly in females. Considering the possibility of ASD in infants with motor delays may not only enhance the potential for earlier diagnosis, but also improve the chance of targeting and addressing these delays in treatment programs and facilitate better prognostic outcomes.”


“Age of first walking and associations with symptom severity in children with suspected or diagnosed autism spectrum disorder,” Lise Reindal, Terje Naerland, Bernhard Weidle, Stian Lydersen, Ole A. Andreassen, and Anne Mari Sund, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, July 5, 2019 (free online). Address: Lise Reindal, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Møre og Romsdal Hospital Trust, Volda Hospital, Pb 113, 6101, Volda, Norway,  [email protected].