Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 390–400 | Cite as

Impact of IQ Discrepancy on Executive Function in High-Functioning Autism: Insight into Twice Exceptionality

  • M. Layne KalbfleischEmail author
  • Ashlee R. Loughan
Original Paper

Abstract

We examined the impact of IQ discrepancy (IQD) within (1) and above (1+) one standard deviation on executive function in HFA using the BRIEF. We hypothesized that IQD would benefit executive function. IQD 1 is hallmarked by deficits in BRIEF indices and subscales inhibit, shift, initiate, working memory, planning and organization, and monitor (MANCOVA, p < .003, corrected). As IQD increases to 1+, deficits are fewer, corresponding to subscales inhibit, shift, and initiate. Pearson correlations (p < .004, corrected) identify significant relationships for FSIQ and BRIEF Global Composite (r = −.66, p = .002) and Metacognition subscales plan/organize (r = −.64, p = .003) and monitor (r = −.63, p = .004). Results suggest IQD 1+ favoring verbal IQ may support these aspects of executive function in HFA.

Keywords

Executive function High-functioning autism IQ discrepancy BRIEF Twice exceptionality WASI 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Dorothy Zhang, M.S., for her assistance with data collection and manuscript coordination.

References

  1. Anderson, P. (2002). Assessment and development of executive function during childhood. Child Neuropsychology, 8(2), 71–82. doi: 10.1076/chin.8.2.71.8724.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Arffa, S., Lovell, M., Podell, K., & Goldberg, E. (1998). Wisconsin card sorting test performance in above average and superior school children: Relationship to intelligence and age. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 13(8), 713–720. doi: 10.1016/S0887-6177(98)00007-9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Attwood, T. (1998). Aspergers syndrome. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Google Scholar
  4. Barkley, R. A. (1997). Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: Constructing a unified theory of ADHD. Psychological Bulletin, 121(1), 65–94. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.121.1.65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baron-Cohen, S., Ashwin, E., Ashwin, C., Tavassoli, T., & Chakrabarti, B. (2009). Talent in autism: hyper-systemitizing, attention to detail and sensory hypersensitivity. Phil Trans R Soc B, 364, 1377–1383. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0337.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Black, D., Wallace, G., Sokoloff, J., & Kenworthy, L. (2009). Brief report: IQ split predicts social symptoms and communication abilities in high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(11), 1613–1619. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0795-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brar, J., Kalbfleisch, M. L., Chandrasekher, L., Warburton, S. M., Girton, L. E., Hailyu, A., et al. (2009). Differences in response conflict in autism spectrum disorders. San Francisco, CA: Organization of Human Brain Mapping.Google Scholar
  8. Bryson, S. E. (1996). Brief report: Epidemiology of autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 26, 165–168. doi: 10.1007/BF02172005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Catheline-Antipoff, N., & Poinso, F. (1994). Gifted children and dysharmonius development. Archives of Pediatrics, 1(11), 1034–1039.Google Scholar
  10. Corbett, B., Constantine, L. J., Hendren, R. L., Rocke, D., & Ozonoff, S. (2009). Examining executive functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and typical development. Psychiatry Research, 166(2–3), 210–222. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2008.02.005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Damarla, S. R., Keller, T. A., Kana, R. K., Cherkassky, V. L., Williams, D. L., Minshew, N. J., et al. (2010). Cortical underconnectivity coupled with preserved visuospatial cognition in autism: Evidence from an fMRI study of an embedded figures task. Autism Research, 3(5), 273–279. doi: 10.1002/aur.153.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dawson, M., Soulières, I., Gernsbacher, M. A., & Mottron, L. (2007). The level and nature of autistic intelligence. Psychological Science, 18(8), 657–662. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01954.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Bruin, E. I., Verherij, F., & Ferdinand, R. F. (2006). WISC-R subtest but no overall VIQ-PIQ difference in Dutch children with PDD-NOS. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(2), 263–271. doi: 10.1007/s10802-005-9018-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Denckla, M. B. (1994). Measure of executive function. In G. R. Lyon (Ed.), Frames of reference for assessment of learning disabilities: New views on measurement issues (pp. 117–142). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brooks Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  15. Denckla, M. B. (1996). A theory and model of executive function: A neuropsychological perspective. In G. R. Lyon & N. A. Krasnegor (Eds.), Attention, memory, & executive function (pp. 263–278). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  16. Dichter, G. S., & Belger, A. (2007). Social stimuli interfere with cognitive control in autism. NeuroImage, 35(3), 1219–1230. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.12.038.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Duncan, J. (1996). Disorganization of behavior after frontal lobe damage. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 3, 271–290. doi: 10.1080/02643298608253360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fernandez-Duque, D., Baird, J. A., & Posner, M. I. (2000). Executive attention and metacognitive regulation. Consciousness and Cognition, 9, 288–307. doi: 10.1006/ccog.2000.0447.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Foley Nicpon, M., Allman, A., Sieck, B., & Stinson, R. D. (2011). Empirical investigation of twice exceptionality: Where have we been and where are we going? Gifted Child Quarterly, 55(1), 3–17. doi: 10.1177/0016986210382575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fox, L. H., Brody, L., & Tobin, D. (Eds.). (1983). Learning disabled gifted children: Identification and programming. Baltimore, MD: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  21. Frith, U., & Happé, F. (1994). Autism: Beyond theory of mind. Cognition, 50, 115–132. doi: 10.1016/0010-0277(94)90024-8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ghaziuddin, M., & Mountain-Kimchi, K. (2004). Defining the intellectual profile of Asperger syndrome: Comparison with high-functioning autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(3), 279–284. doi: 10.1023/B:JADD.0000029550.19098.77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gilger, J. W., & Hynd, G. W. (2008). Neurodevelopmental variation as a framework for thinking about the twice exceptional. Roeper Review, 30(4), 214–228. doi: 10.1080/02783190802363893.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gillberg, C., & Billstedt, E. (2000). Autism and Asperger syndrome: Coexistence with other clinical disorders. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 102(5), 321–330. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2000.102005321.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilotty, L., Kenworthy, L., Sirian, L., Black, D. O., & Wagner, A. E. (2002). Adaptive skills and executive function in autism spectrum disorders. Child Neuropsychology, 8(4), 241–248. doi: 10.1076/chin.8.4.241.13504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Guy, S. C., & Kenworthy, L. (2000a). Behavior rating inventory of executive function. Child Neuropsychology, 6(3), 235–238. doi: 10.1076/chin.6.3.235.3152.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Guy, S. C., & Kenworthy, L. (2000b). Behavior rating inventory of executive function. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.Google Scholar
  28. Gioia, G. A., Isquith, P. K., Kenworthy, L., & Barton, R. M. (2003). Profiles of everyday executive function in acquired and developmental disorders. Child Neuropsychology, 8(2), 121–137. doi: 10.1076/chin.8.2.121.8727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Goldberg, E., & Bougakov, D. (2005). Neuropsychological assessment of frontal lobe dysfunction. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 28(3), 567–580. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2005.05.005.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Happé, F., Booth, R., Charlton, R., & Hughes, C. (2006). Executive function deficits in autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Examining profiles across domains and ages. Brain and Cognition, 61(1), 25–39. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2006.03.004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hayashi, M., Kato, M., Igarashi, K., & Kashima, H. (2008). Superior fluid intelligence in children with Asperger’s disorder. Brain and Cognition, 66(3), 306–310. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2007.09.008.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hill, E. L. (2004). Executive dysfunction in autism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(1), 26–32. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2003.11.003.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hill, E. L., & Bird, C. M. (2006). Executive processes in Asperger syndrome: Patterns of performance in a multiple case series. Neuropsychologia, 44(14), 2822–2835. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.06.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hughes, C., Russell, J., & Robbins, T. W. (1994). Evidence for executive dysfunction in autism. Neuropsychologia, 32(4), 477–492. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(94)90092-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Joseph, R. M., Tager-Flusberg, H., & Lord, C. (2002). Cognitive profiles and social-communicative functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43(6), 807–821. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00092.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Just, M. A., Cherkassky, V. L., Keller, T. A., Kana, R. K., & Minshew, N. J. (2007). Functional and anatomical cortical underconnectivity in autism: Evidence from an fMRI study of an executive function task and corpus callosum morphometry. Cerebral Cortex, 17(4), 951–961. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhl006.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kalbfleisch, M. L. (2004). The functional neural anatomy of talent. The Anatomical Record, 277B(1), 21–36. doi: 10.1002/ar.b.20010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kalbfleisch, M. L. (2009). The neural plasticity of giftedness. In L. Shavanina (Ed.), International handbook on giftedness (pp. 275–293). New York, NY: Springer Science.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kalbfleisch, M. L. (in press). Twice exceptional students. In C. A. Callahan & H. Hertberg-Davis (Eds.), Fundamentals of gifted education. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Kalbfleisch, M. L., & Iguchi, C. (2008). Twice exceptional learners. In J. A. Plucker & C. Callahan (Eds.), Critical issues and practices in gifted education (pp. 707–720). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press.Google Scholar
  41. Kanner, L. (1943). Autistic disturbances of affective contact. Nervous Child, 2, 217–250.Google Scholar
  42. Kaufman, A. S. (1990). Assessing adolescent and adult intelligence. Needham, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  43. Kaufmann, F., Kalbfleisch, M. L., & Castellanos, F. X. (2000). Attention deficit disorders and gifted students: What do we really know? Monographs of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted, National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, Storrs: CT.Google Scholar
  44. Kenworthy, L., Black, D. O., Harrison, B., Della Rosa, A., & Wallace, G. L. (2009). Are executive control functions related to autism symptoms in high-functioning children? Child Neuropsychology, 15(5), 425–440. doi: 10.1080/09297040802646983.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kenworthy, L. E., Black, D. O., Wallace, G. L., Ahluvalia, T., Wagner, A. E., & Sirian, L. M. (2005). Disorganization: The forgotten executive dysfunction in high-functioning autism (HFA) spectrum disorders. Developmental Neuropsychology, 28(3), 809–827. doi: 10.1207/s15326942dn2803_4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kenworthy, L., Yerys, B. E., Anthony, L. G., & Wallace, G. L. (2008). Understanding executive control in autism spectrum disorders in the lab and in the real world. Neuropsychology Review, 18(4), 320–338. doi: 10.1007/s11065-008-9077-7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Klin, A., Jones, W., Schultz, R., & Volkmar, F. (2003). The enactive mind, or from actions to cognition: Lessons from autism. Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society Series B, 358(1430), 345–360. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2002.1202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Klin, A., Saulnier, C. A., Sparrow, S. S., Cicchetti, D. V., Volkmar, F. R., & Lord, C. (2007). Social and communication abilities and disabilities in higher functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders: The Vineland and the ADOS. Journal of Autism Developmental Disorders, 37(4), 748–759. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0229-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Leyfer, O. T., Folstein, S. E., Bacalman, S., Davis, N. O., Dinh, E., Morgan, J., et al. (2006). Comorbid psychiatric disorders in children with autism: Interview development and rates of disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(7), 849–861. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0123-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lezak, M. D. (1995). Neuropsychological assessment (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford.Google Scholar
  51. Luria, A. R., & Haigh, B. (1973). The working brain. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  52. Markram, K., & Markram, H. (2010). The intense world theory—A unifying theory of the neurobiology of autism. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 4, 1–29. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2010.00224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McEvoy, R. E., Rogers, S. J., & Pennington, B. F. (1993). Executive function and social communication deficits in young autistic children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 34, 563–578. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1993.tb01036.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Mottron, L., Dawson, M., Bertone, A., & Wang, L. (2007). Cognitive versatility in autism cannot be reduced to a deficit. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 24(5), 578–580. doi: 10.1080/02643290701541522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ozonoff, S., & Jensen, J. (1999). Brief report: Specific executive function profiles in three neurodevelopmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 29(2), 171–177. doi: 10.1023/A:1023052913110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pellicano, E. (2007). Links between theory of mind and executive function in young children with autism: Clues to developmental primacy. Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 974–990. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.4.974.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Posner, M. I., & Rothbart, M. K. (2005). Influencing brain networks: Implications for education. Trends in Cognitive Science, 9(3), 99–103. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.01.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Robinson, S., Goddard, L., Dritschel, B., Wisley, M., & Howlin, P. (2009). Executive functions in children with autism spectrum disorders. Brain and Cognition, 71(3), 362–368. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.06.007.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Roca, M., Parr, A., Thompson, R., Woolgar, A., Torralva, T., Antoun, N., et al. (2010). Executive function and fluid intelligence after frontal lobe lesions. Brain, 133, 234–247. doi: 10.1093/brain/awp269.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sahyoun, C. C. P., Belliveau, J. W., Soulières, I., Schwartz, S., & Mody, M. (2010). Neuroimaging of the functional and structural networks underlying visuospatial vs. linguistic reasoning in high-functioning autism. Neuropsychologia, 48(1), 86–95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.08.013.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Salthouse, T. A. (2005). Relations between cognitive abilities and measures of executive functioning. Neuropsychology, 19(4), 532–545. doi: 10.1037/0894-4105.19.4.532.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Semrud-Clikeman, M., Walkowiak, J., Wilkinson, A., & Butcher, B. (2010). Executive functioning in children with Asperger syndrome, ADHD-combined type, ADHD-predominately inattentive type, and controls. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(8), 1017–1027. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-0951-9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Soulières, I., Dawson, M., Samson, F., Bareau, E. B., Sahyoun, C. P., Strangman, G. E., et al. (2009). Enhanced visual processing contributes to matrix reasoning in autism. Human Brain Mapping, 30(12), 4082–4107. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20831.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Szatamari, P., & Jones, M. B. (1991). IQ and the genetics of autism. Journal of Child Psychology in Psychiatry, 32(6), 897–908. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1991.tb01917.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Torgeson, J. K. (1994). Issues in the assessment of executive function: An information processing perspective. In G. R. Lyon (Ed.), Frames of reference for the assessment of learning disabilities: New views on measurement issues (pp. 143–162). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brooks Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  66. Tranel, D., Anderson, S. W., & Benton, A. L. (1994). Development of the concept of “executive function” and its relationship to the frontal lobes. In F. Boller & J. Grafman (Eds.), Handbook of neuropsychology (pp. 125–148). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  67. Vital, P. M., Ronald, A., Wallace, G. L., & Happé, F. (2009). Relationship between special abilities and autistic-like traits in a large population-based sample of 8-year-olds. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50(9), 1093–1101. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02076.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Washington, S. D., Gordon, E. V., Brar, J., Girton, L. E., Hailyu, A., Wolfe, A., Warburton, S., Mbwana, J. S., Gallaird, W. D., Kalbfleisch, M. L., Van Meter, J. W. (2010). Functional under-connectivity in the default mode networks of autistic individuals. Organization of Human Brain Mapping, Barcelona, Spain.Google Scholar
  69. Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  70. Welsh, M., & Pennington, B. F. (1988). Assessing frontal lobe functioning in children: Views from developmental psychology. Developmental Neuropsychology, 4(3), 199–230. doi: 10.1080/87565648809540405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Welsh, M. C., Pennington, B. F., & Groisser, D. B. (1991). A normative-developmental study of executive function: A window on prefrontal function in children. Developmental Neuropsychology, 7(2), 131–149. doi: 10.1080/87565649109540483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Whitmore, J. R. (1980). Giftedness, conflict, and underachievement. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  73. Whitmore, J. R., & Maker, C. J. (1985). Intellectual giftedness in disabled persons. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corp.Google Scholar
  74. Winner, E. (2000). The origins and ends of giftedness. American Psychologist, 55(1), 159–169. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zelazo, P. D., Carter, A., Reznick, J. S., & Frye, D. (1997). Early development of executive function: A problem-solving framework. Review of General Psychology, 1(2), 198–226. doi: 10.1037/1089-2680.1.2.198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education and Human DevelopmentGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.KIDLABGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsThe George Washington School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations