ISSN: 0971-9032

Current Pediatric Research

International Journal of Pediatrics


Executive functioning in autism spectrum disorders: a case-control study in preschool children

Background: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are neurobehavioral and developmental conditions that include impairments in a triad of behavioral domains: social development, communication and repetitive behavior/obsessive interests. This case-control study aims to assess executive functioning in ASD preschoolers.

Methods: A sample of 50 children participated in the study (24 males and 26 females; age ranged between 2.7 and 3.5 years). The study sample was subdivided into two groups: 25 ASD children and 25 typically developing children as a control group. All participants were administered the BRIEF-P test to assess executive functioning.

Results: The two groups were counterbalanced for age and gender. Comparison analysis between the two groups revealed significantly higher scores in ASD children in two subscales of BRIEF-P: inhibition and shifting.

Conclusion: These data evidenced significant impairments in several dimensions of executive functions in ASD children. Detecting these deficits at a very early stage of development could therefore have a great impact on clinical practice.

Author(s): Marco Carotenuto, Maria Ruberto, Maria Lorena Fontana, Angela Catania, Eliana Misuraca, Francesco Precenzano, Valentina Lanzara, Giovanni Messina, Michele Roccella, Daniela Smirni*

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