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Executive Functioning in Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Can We Differentiate Within the Spectrum?

The aim of this study was to investigate whether children with high-functioning autism (HFA), Asperger’s syndrome (AS), and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS) can be differentiated from each other and from normal controls on their neurocognitive executive functioning (EF) profile. Children with HFA and AS showed the most EF deficits. The EF profile of the PDDNOS group was more disturbed that the normal control group, but was less disturbed than the profile of the HFA and AS groups. Little difference was found between the three PDD subtypes with respect to EF. This study supports the view that executive dysfunctioning plays an important role in autism. The usefulness of a distinction between different PDD subtypes was not demonstrated.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Throughout this manuscript the terms autism spectrum disorder and pervasive developmental disorder are used interchangeable; both refer to the same concept.

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Acknowledgement

We want to thank the children and parents without whose participation this research would not have been possible.

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Verté, S., Geurts, H.M., Roeyers, H. et al. Executive Functioning in Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Can We Differentiate Within the Spectrum?. J Autism Dev Disord 36, 351–372 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-006-0074-5

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Keywords

  • high-functioning autism
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)
  • executive functioning