Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 101–114

Sustained attention in children with autism


  • Helen Bray Garretson
    • Hillcrest Educational Center
  • Deborah Fein
    • Boston University School of Medicine and University of Connecticut
  • Lynn Waterhouse
    • Trenton State College

DOI: 10.1007/BF02206860

Cite this article as:
Garretson, H.B., Fein, D. & Waterhouse, L. J Autism Dev Disord (1990) 20: 101. doi:10.1007/BF02206860


Although many children with early infantile autism cannot maintain attention to externally imposed tasks, they may continue a repetitive behavior of their own choosing for long periods of time. This study examined the performance of autistic and mental age matched normal children on a Continuous Performance Test of sustained attention. Results suggest that autistic children's difficulties in sustaining attention on imposed tasks may be attributable partly to a developmental delay and partly to the motivational contingencies of task rather than to a primary impairment in the ability to sustain attention.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990