Rhythmic bimanual coordination is impaired in young children with autism spectrum disorder

Robert W. Isenhower, Kerry L. Marsh, Michael J. Richardson, Molly Helt, R. C. Schmidt, Deborah Fein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Impairments in motor coordination are a common behavioral manifestation of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We, therefore, used a drumming methodology to examine rhythmic bimanual coordination in children diagnosed with ASD (M = 47.3 months) and age-matched typically developing (TD) children (M = 42.6 months). Both groups were instructed to drum on a pad in two required phases: in-phase (drumsticks striking the pad simultaneously) and anti-phase (drumsticks striking in alteration). Analysis revealed that TD children were more able than children with ASD to stay in the required phase relationships for both in-phase and anti-phase coordination. Movement variability was higher for children with ASD than TD children. Imitation ability of the ASD group was somewhat related to their performance on the task. We discuss the implications that deficits in bimanual (intra-personal) coordination may have for social and interpersonal coordination in children with ASD
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ASD
  • motor deficits
  • bimanual coordination


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