Karin Nelsen Lifter (1946-)
Emmanuel Mason, Rafael Castro
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Department or Academic Unit
Bouvé College of Health Sciences. Department of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology.
Autistic children--Case studies, Preschool children--Case studies
Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences
The research on executive functioning in adults, adolescents, and older children with autism has demonstrated clear executive function impairments. However, little research has been conducted on preschool-aged children with autism, even though characteristics of the disorder begin to manifest as early as birth. Preschool-aged children are different from older children and adults as they are consistently developing their skills and abilities, which has historically made it difficult to assess executive functioning skills in this age group. Few researchers have attempted to identify executive functioning profiles in preschool-aged children with autism. This study compared the performance of 29 preschool children (4-6 years of age) with Autistic Disorder (n = 10) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (n = 19) to 30 same aged children without autism on global and domain specific elicited measures of executive functioning and an ecologically valid executive functioning behavioral rating scale. Age and intelligence was analyzed to examine executive functioning performance over age and intellect. A comparison of executive functioning performance on the Dimensional Card Sorting Test, Day-Night test, Tower of Hanoi-R, Noisy Book, and Self-Control task to the BRIEF-P was used to examine the correlation between ecologically valid and elicited instrumentation. An age group comparison in both groups was conducted to observe differences in performance among 4, 5, and 6 year olds. Both global and domain specific weaknesses in the children diagnosed with autism were found when compared to the children without autism. Moreover, the children without autism exhibited increased age-based performance on executive functioning tests measuring working memory, self- monitoring, and planning/organization. The BRIEF-P was correlated strongly with elicited measures across each domain of executive functioning.
Jeffrey D. Drayer
Drayer, Jeffrey D., "Profiles of executive functioning in preschoolers with autism" (2008). Counseling Psychology Dissertations. Paper 5. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d10018748
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