[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Executive functioning (EF) is an overarching term that refers to neuropsychological processes that enable physical, cognitive, and emotional self-control. Deficits in EF are often present in neurodevelopmental disorders, but examinations of the specificity of EF deficits and direct comparisons across disorders are rare. The current study investigated EF in 7- to 12-year-old children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and typical development using a comprehensive battery of measures assessing EF, including response inhibition, working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, fluency and vigilance. The ADHD group exhibited deficits in vigilance, inhibition and working memory relative to the typical group; however, they did not consistently demonstrate problems on the remaining EF measures. Children with ASD showed significant deficits in vigilance compared with the typical group, and significant differences in response inhibition, cognitive flexibility/switching, and working memory compared with both groups. These results lend support for previous findings that show children with autism demonstrate generalized and profound impairment in EF. In addition, the observed deficits in vigilance and inhibitory control suggest that a significant number of children with ASD present with cognitive profiles consistent with ADHD.
Full-text · Article · May 2009 · Psychiatry Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been widely reported in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study investigated attention and response control in children with ASD, ADHD, and typical development using the Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test. Results indicate that many children with ASD show significant deficits in visual and auditory attention and greater deficits in impulsivity than children with ADHD or typical development. These findings suggest that many of the children with ASD demonstrate significant ADHD-like deficits. These findings are discussed in the context of symptoms, subtypes, and comorbidity.