Impaired Consonant Trigrams Test (CTT) performance relates to everyday working memory difficulties in children with autism spectrum disorders.

Abstract

Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often struggle with complex tasks, such as those requiring divided attention (simultaneously completing two independent tasks) that also place high demands on working memory. Prior research shows that divided attention is impaired in adults and children with ASD and is related to ASD and comorbid attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, but the impact on everyday functioning is unclear. Because ADHD symptoms are associated with poor divided attention and working memory performance in children with ASD, we also examined ADHD symptoms as moderators of divided attention performance. We examined performance on the Consonant Trigrams Test (CTT) between high-functioning 8- to 13-year-olds with ASD (n = 28) and typically developing controls (n = 18) matched on age and IQ. In the ASD group, we also correlated performance with ADHD symptoms and behavior ratings of everyday working memory. CTT performance in children with ASD was significantly worse than in matched controls. A significant correlation between CTT performance and everyday working memory was observed, but CTT performance was not related to comorbid ADHD symptoms in the ASD group. Divided attention with high working-memory demands is a relative weakness in children with high-functioning ASD; this weakness relates to everyday functioning, and it is independent from ADHD symptoms. That ADHD symptoms are not associated with divided attention performance is inconsistent with one prior investigation, which likely results from using different divided attention tasks in the two studies.

DOI: 10.1080/09297049.2010.547462

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Cite this paper

@article{Yerys2011ImpairedCT, title={Impaired Consonant Trigrams Test (CTT) performance relates to everyday working memory difficulties in children with autism spectrum disorders.}, author={Benjamin E. Yerys and Gregory L. Wallace and Kathryn F Jankowski and Angela M Bollich and Lauren Kenworthy}, journal={Child neuropsychology : a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence}, year={2011}, volume={17 4}, pages={391-9} }