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Increasing Adaptive Behavior Skill Deficits From Childhood to Adolescence in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Role of Executive Function

Abstract

Almost half of all children with autism spectrum disorder have average cognitive abilities, yet outcome remains poor. Because outcome in HFASD is more related to adaptive behavior skills than cognitive level it is important to identify predictors of adaptive behavior. This study examines cognitive and demographic factors related to adaptive behavior, with specific attention to the role of executive function (EF) in youth with HFASD aged 4–23. There was a negative relationship between age and adaptive behavior and the discrepancy between IQ and adaptive behavior increased with age. EF problems contributed to lower adaptive behavior scores across domains. As such, it is important to target adaptive skills, and the EF problems that may contribute to them, in youth with HFASD.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by an award from the Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation and Grants by the National Institutes of Health (P30HD040677 and T32 HD046388-01A2).

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Correspondence to Cara E. Pugliese.

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Pugliese, C.E., Anthony, L., Strang, J.F. et al. Increasing Adaptive Behavior Skill Deficits From Childhood to Adolescence in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Role of Executive Function. J Autism Dev Disord 45, 1579–1587 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-014-2309-1

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Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Adaptive behavior
  • Executive function
  • Cognitive ability