This article is part of the Research Topic Autism: The Movement Perspective

Mini Review ARTICLE

Front. Integr. Neurosci., 26 March 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnint.2013.00016

Meta review of systematic and meta analytic reviews on movement differences, effect of movement based interventions, and the underlying neural mechanisms in autism spectrum disorder

  • Movement Development Clinic, School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Purposes: To identify and appraise evidence from published systematic and meta analytic reviews on (1) movement differences of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); (2) the effects of movement based interventions for ASD; (3) hypothesized underlying neural mechanisms for the movement characteristics.

Methods: A meta review of published systematic and meta analytic reviews on movement differences, structural, and functional brain anomalies in ASD and the effects of movement based interventions for individuals with ASD between 1806 and October 2012. The methodological quality of the identified systematic and meta analytic reviews was independently assessed by two assessors with the assessment of multiple systematic reviews (AMSTAR).

Results: The search yielded a total of 12 reviews that met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The methodological quality of the reviews varied, but the review conclusions were similar. Although individuals with ASD generally perform less well than age-matched controls in developmental movement tasks, there are few exceptions whose movement abilities are intact. Most movement based interventions report their efficacies. However, all existing studies employ the research design that is inherently incapable of providing strong evidence, and they often fail to report the extent of psychosocial interactions within the movement interventions. The hypothesized neural mechanisms are still under development and speculative in nature.

Conclusions: It is premature to designate movement disturbance as a core symptom of ASD. The effects of movement based interventions on the present ASD core symptoms need to be further validated by stronger evidence and verified theoretical mechanisms linking ASD with movement disorders.

Keywords: autism, movement, developmental coordination disorder, motor development, MRI and fMRI

Citation: Miyahara M (2013) Meta review of systematic and meta analytic reviews on movement differences, effect of movement based interventions, and the underlying neural mechanisms in autism spectrum disorder. Front. Integr. Neurosci. 7:16. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2013.00016

Received: 29 December 2012; Accepted: 06 March 2013;
Published online: 26 March 2013.

Edited by:

Anne M. Donnellan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Uzbekistan

Reviewed by:

Nandakumar Narayanan, Yale University, USA
Elizabeth B. Torres, Rutgers University, USA

Copyright © 2013 Miyahara. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Motohide Miyahara, Movement Development Clinic, School of Physical Education, University of Otago, 46 Union Street, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand. e-mail: motohide.miyahara@otago.ac.nz