, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 509-519

Direct and Indirect Measures of Social Perception, Behavior, and Emotional Functioning in Children with Asperger’s Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disability, or ADHD

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Understanding social interactions is crucial for development of social competence. The present study was one of the first to utilize direct and indirect measures of social perception to explore possible differences among children with nonverbal learning disability (NLD), Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Combined (ADHD-C), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-Predominately Inattentive (ADHD-PI), and controls (N = 342). Multiple informants provided ratings of the child’s behavioral and social functioning. Results indicated that the NLD and AS groups experienced the most difficulty understanding emotional and nonverbal cues on the direct measure. In addition, children with AS or NLD showed significant signs of sadness and social withdrawal compared to the other groups. Attentional skills, while related to social perception, did not predict social perception difficulties to the same degree as number of AS symptoms.