Motor impairments occur frequently in genetic syndromes highly penetrant for autism spectrum disorder (syndromic ASD) and in individuals with ASD without a genetic diagnosis (nonsyndromic ASD). In particular, abnormalities in gait in ASD have been linked to language delay, ASD severity, and likelihood of having a genetic disorder. Quantitative measures of motor function can improve our ability to evaluate motor differences in individuals with syndromic and nonsyndromic ASD with varying levels of intellectual disability and adaptive skills. To evaluate this methodology, we chose to use quantitative gait analysis to study duplication 15q syndrome (dup15q syndrome), a genetic disorder highly penetrant for motor delays, intellectual disability, and ASD. We evaluated quantitative gait variables in individuals with dup15q syndrome (n = 39) and nonsyndromic ASD (n = 21) and compared these data to a reference typically developing cohort. We found a gait pattern of slow pace, poor postural control, and large gait variability in dup15q syndrome. Our findings improve characterization of motor function in dup15q syndrome and nonsyndromic ASD. Quantitative gait analysis can be used as a translational method and can improve our identification of clinical endpoints to be used in treatment trials for these syndromes.
LAY SUMMARY: Motor impairments, particularly abnormalities in walking, occur frequently in genetic syndromes highly penetrant for autism spectrum disorder (syndromic ASD). Here, using quantitative gait analysis, we find that individuals with duplication 15q syndrome have an atypical gait pattern that differentiates them from typically developing and nonsyndromic ASD individuals. Our findings improve motor characterization in dup15q syndrome and nonsyndromic ASD. © 2020 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.