Screening for autism by motor impairment – are tablet games an effective tool?

  • An engaging ‘bubble-popping’ tablet game was used by children (n=233) aged 1.5─10 years of age to assess several game-based touch features which correlate to motor skills.
  • Young children with autism (aged 1.5─3 years) were slower and demonstrated reduced ability to touch the center of the bubble than neurotypical children. Older children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (aged 3─10 years) demonstrated greater motor impairment.
  • The authors concluded that touch-based games offer an efficient and scalable tool for assessing motor impairment in children. Since early motor impairments are a common feature of autism, this quantifiable tool can be used as part of broader screening for autism.