Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 166–185 | Cite as

Evaluation of Planning Dysfunction in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorders Using the Zoo Map Task

  • M. D. Salcedo-Marin
  • J. M. Moreno-Granados
  • M. Ruiz-Veguilla
  • M. Ferrin
Original Article


Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorders (ADHD) and Autistic-Spectrum-Disorders (ASD) share overlapping clinical and cognitive features that may confuse the diagnosis. Evaluation of executive problems and planning dysfunction may aid the clinical diagnostic process and help disentangle the neurobiological process underlying these conditions. This study evaluates the planning function problems in 80 male children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD and 23 male children and adolescents with ASD using the Zoo Map Task; both groups were comparable in terms of age and IQ. The relationship between planning function and other executive functions is also assessed. In comparison to the ADHD groups, ASD children presented more errors in the open-ended tasks; these planning function problems seem to be mediated by processing speed and motor coordination, however it does not seem to be mediated by other executive function problems, including attention, working memory or response inhibition. In the time for planning, an interaction between the specific subgroups and working memory components was observed. ADHD and ASD present with different patterns of planning function, even when other components of executive function are taken into account; clinical and educational implications are discussed.


ADHD ASD Working memory Planning Children/adolescents 



M. Ferrin has received economic support from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ETS 07/90902, BAE 09/90088), Consejeria de Salud Junta de Andalucía (EF-0029) and Fundacion Alicia Koplowitz.

Conflict of interest

The authors M. D. Salcedo-Marin, J. M. Moreno-Granados, and M. Ruiz-Veguilla declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. D. Salcedo-Marin
    • 1
  • J. M. Moreno-Granados
    • 1
  • M. Ruiz-Veguilla
    • 1
  • M. Ferrin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.NDP Unidad de Neuropsiquiatría del DesarrolloSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Department of Child & Adolescent PsychiatryInstitute of PsychiatryLondonUK
  3. 3.Centro de Salud Mental de Estella, Hospital Garcia OrcoyenEstella-NavarraSpain

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