Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 101–114

Sustained attention in children with autism

  • Helen Bray Garretson
  • Deborah Fein
  • Lynn Waterhouse
Article

Abstract

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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Carr, E. (1977). The motivation of self-injurious behavior: A review of some hypotheses.Psychological Bulletin, 84, 800–816.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Clark, P., & Rutter, M. (1981). Autistic children's responses to structure and to interpersonal demands.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 11, 201–207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen, D., & Johnson, M. (1967). Cardiovascular correlates of attention in normal and psychiatrically disturbed children.Archives of General Psychiatry, 18, 561–567.Google Scholar
  4. Cook, A., Anderson, N., & Rincover, A. (1982). Stimulus overselectivity and stimulus control: Problems and strategies. In R. Koegel, A. Rincover, & A. Egel (Eds.),Educating and understanding autistic children. San Diego: College-Hill.Google Scholar
  5. Dunlap, G., & Egel, A. (1982). Motivational techniques. In R. Koegel, A. Rincover, & A. Egel (Eds.),Educating and understanding autistic children. San Diego: College-Hill.Google Scholar
  6. Durand, V. M., & Crimmins, D. (1988). Identifying the variables maintaining self-injurious behavior.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 18, 99–118.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Egel, A. (1980). The effects of constant versus varied reinforcer presentation on responding by autistic children.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 30, 455–463.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Fein, D., Waterhouse, L., & Trader, P. (1979). Stimulus generalization in autistic and normal children.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 20, 325–335.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Fein, D., Waterhouse, L., Lucci, D., & Snyder, D. (1985). Cognitive sybtypes in developmentally disabled children: A pilot study.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 15, 77–95.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ferster, C. (1961). Positive reinforcement and behavioral deficits of autistic children.Child Development, 32, 437–456.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Frankel, F., Freeman, B., Ritvo, E., & Pardo, R. (1978). The effect of environmental stimulation upon the stereotyped behavior of autistic children.Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 8, 389–394.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Gold, M., & Gold, J. (1975). Autism and attention: Theoretical consideration and a pilot study using set reaction time.Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 6, 68–80.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Howlin, P. (1978). The assessment of social behavior. In M. Rutter & E. Schopler (Eds.),Autism: A reappraisal of concepts and treatment. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hung, D. (1978). Using self-stimulation as reinforcement for autistic children.Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 8, 355–366.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hutt, C., & Hutt, S. (1968). Stereotypy, arousal and autism.Human Development, 11, 272–286.Google Scholar
  16. Kinsbourne, M. (1980). Do repetitive movement patterns in children and animal serve a dearousing function?Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 1, 40–43.Google Scholar
  17. Kinsbourne, M. (1983), Toward a model for the attention deficit disorder.Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, 16, 137–166.Google Scholar
  18. Koegel, R., & Egel, A. (1979). Motivating autistic children.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 88, 418–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Lovaas, O. (1977).The autistic child: Language development through behavior modification. New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  20. Lovaas, O., Koegel, R., & Schreibman, L. (1979). Stimulus overselectivity in autism: A review of research.Psychological Bulletin, 86, 1236–1254.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. McCarthy, D. (1972).McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities. New York: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  22. McNicoll, D. (1972).A primer of signal detection theory. London: George Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  23. Murphy, G. (1982). Sensory reinforcement in the mentally handicapped and autistic child: A review.Journal of Autism and Developmntal Disorders, 12, 265–278.Google Scholar
  24. Ornitz, E., & Ritvo, E. (1976). The syndrome of autism: A critical review.American Journal of Psychiatry, 133, 609–621.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Rimland, B. (1964).Infantile autism: The syndrome and its implications for a neural theory of behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  26. Rosvold, H., Mirsky, A., Sarason, I., Bransome, E., & Beck, L. (1956). A continuous performance test of brain damage.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 20, 343–352.Google Scholar
  27. Schopler, E. (1965). Early infantile autism and receptor processes.Archives of General Psychiatry, 13, 327–335.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Schopler, E. (1966). Visual versus tactile preferences in normal and schizophrenic children.Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 71, 108–114.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Wilhelm, H., & Lovaas, O. (1976). Stimulus overselectivity: A common feature in autism and mental retardation.American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 81, 26–31.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Wing, L. (1978). Social, behavioral, and cognitive characteristics: An epidemiological approach. In M. Rutter & E. Schopler (Eds.),Autism: A reappraisal of concepts and treatment. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Bray Garretson
    • 1
  • Deborah Fein
    • 2
  • Lynn Waterhouse
    • 3
  1. 1.Hillcrest Educational CenterPittsfield
  2. 2.Boston University School of Medicine and University of ConnecticutUSA
  3. 3.Trenton State CollegeUSA

Personalised recommendations