Objective: To examine the neuropsychological profiles of young adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD) and determine if they follow the pattern of neurocognitive strengths and weaknesses characterized by cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome (CCAS). Method: The neuropsychological profiles of 21 adult males with HFASD were compared to 22 healthy controls matched on gender, age, and performance IQ. The neuropsychological battery included measures of: executive functioning (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Trail Making Test, Verbal Fluency), visuospatial ability (Judgment of Line Orientation), language (Boston Naming Test, Peabody Picture Vocabulary test), memory (Brief Visuospatial Memory Test, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test), attention (Conners’ Continuous Performance Test, Digit Span Forward), and motor functioning (Lafayette Grooved Pegboard). The groups were compared using independent samples t tests. Results: The HFASD group performed significantly worse than controls on motor tasks for dominant [t (36.9) = −3.144, p = 0.003, d = −1.04] and nondominant [t (28.6) = −3.267, p = 0.003, d = −1.22] hands. Differences approached significance on the digit span forward task, [t (31.6) = −2.880, p = 0.007, d = −1.02], Trails B [ t (34.6) = −2.550, p = 0.015, d = −0.87], and semantic fluency [ t (35.5) = −2.331, p = 0.026, d = −0.78] measures; however, they did not reach significance after adjusting for multiple comparisons. Conclusion: The HFASD group had poorer motor functioning and relative weaknesses in executive functioning compared to healthy controls. Individuals with HFASD may have some of the neurocognitive weaknesses seen in CCAS; however, more research is needed to elucidate the involvement of the cerebellum in the neuropsychological profiles of individuals with HFASD.
Neuropsychological Profiles of Young Adults with High Functioning Autism: a Comparison to Cerebellar Cognitive Affective Syndrome
H Loblein, G Allen, A M von Buttlar; Neuropsychiatric Disorders-2
Neuropsychological Profiles of Young Adults with High Functioning Autism: a Comparison to Cerebellar Cognitive Affective Syndrome. Arch Clin Neuropsychol 2016; 31 (6): 582. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw042.22
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