IMR Press / JIN / Volume 22 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jin2202051
Open Access Systematic Review
The Urgent Need for Neuroscience Research to Consider Culture when Assessing the Development of Gait in Autistic Children: A Scoping Review
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1 School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA
2 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA
3 Department of Industrial Engineering, Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL 62026, USA
*Correspondence: (Milijana Buac)
J. Integr. Neurosci. 2023, 22(2), 51;
Submitted: 24 December 2022 | Revised: 13 January 2023 | Accepted: 30 January 2023 | Published: 23 March 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiological Basis of Learning Disability)
Copyright: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: Over the last decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) on a global scale, impacting all racial and cultural groups. This increase in the diagnostic rate has prompted investigation into a myriad of factors that may serve as early signs of ASD. One of these factors includes the biomechanics of gait, or the manner of walking. Although ASD is a spectrum, many autistic children experience differences in gross motor function, including gait. It has been documented that gait is also impacted by racial and cultural background. Given that ASD is equally prevalent across all cultural backgrounds, it is urgent that studies assessing gait in autistic children consider the impact of cultural factors on children’s development of gait. The purpose of the present scoping review was to assess whether recent empirical research studies focusing on gait in autistic children have taken culture into account. Methods: To do so, we conducted a scoping review following PRISMA guidelines using a keyword searching with the terms autism, OR autism spectrum disorder, OR ASD, OR autis, AND gait OR walking in the following databases: CINAHL, ERIC (EBSCO), Medline, ProQuest Nursing & Allied Health Source, PsychInfo, PubMed, and Scopus. Articles were considered for review if they met all six of the following inclusionary criteria: (1) included participants with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), (2) directly measured gait or walking, (3) the article was a primary study, (4) the article was written in English, (5) participants included children up to age 18, and (6) the article was published between 2014 and 2022. Results: A total of 43 articles met eligibility criteria but none of the articles took culture into account in the data analysis process. Conclusions: There is an urgent need for neuroscience research to consider cultural factors when assessing gait characteristics of autistic children. This would allow for more culturally responsive and equitable assessment and intervention planning for all autistic children.

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