Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 2502–2518 | Cite as

The Flexibility Scale: Development and Preliminary Validation of a Cognitive Flexibility Measure in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • John F. Strang
  • Laura G. Anthony
  • Benjamin E. Yerys
  • Kristina K. Hardy
  • Gregory L. Wallace
  • Anna C. Armour
  • Katerina Dudley
  • Lauren Kenworthy
Original Paper

Abstract

Flexibility is a key component of executive function, and is related to everyday functioning and adult outcomes. However, existing informant reports do not densely sample cognitive aspects of flexibility; the Flexibility Scale (FS) was developed to address this gap. This study investigates the validity of the FS in 221 youth with ASD and 57 typically developing children. Exploratory factor analysis indicates a five-factor scale: Routines/rituals, transitions/change, special interests, social flexibility, and generativity. The FS demonstrated convergent and divergent validity with comparative domains of function in other measures, save for the Generativity factor. The FS discriminated participants with ASD and controls. Thus, this study suggests the FS may be a viable, comprehensive measure of flexibility in everyday settings.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Children Executive function Flexibility 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Strang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
  • Laura G. Anthony
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Benjamin E. Yerys
    • 4
    • 5
  • Kristina K. Hardy
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gregory L. Wallace
    • 6
  • Anna C. Armour
    • 1
  • Katerina Dudley
    • 1
  • Lauren Kenworthy
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Autism Spectrum DisordersChildren’s National Health SystemWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Research InstituteChildren’s National Health SystemWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pediatric NeuropsychologyChildren’s National Health SystemWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Autism ResearchThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  7. 7.Children’s National Medical CenterRockvilleUSA

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