Executive Dysfunctions in Autism Spectrum Disorders
The chapter focuses on executive dysfunctions in neurodevelopmental disorder of autism spectrum disorder. Firstly, the presenting symptoms and prevalence rate of autism spectrum disorder have been described. Then, three cognitive theories including theory of mind deficits, weak central coherence, and executive dysfunctions theory have been discussed in relation to presenting symptoms of the autism. Further, specific executive dysfunctions in individuals with autism have been analyzed. The chapter discusses that individuals with autism spectrum disorder show consistent impairment on tasks tapping planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory related to spatial domain. However, findings are inconsistent regarding inhibition deficits. It is recommended that more detailed assessment of executive dysfunctions, using a wide range of executive functioning tasks, must be conducted. Assessment should include ecologically valid executive functioning measures along with laboratory measures of executive functions, natural observation of the behavior, and parent’s and teachers’ reports. Additionally, longitudinal studies are recommended to identify the executive dysfunction trajectory in autistic individuals. A clearer understanding of executive dysfunctions in autistic individuals will help in improving clinical techniques and trainings to ameliorate the undesirable consequences of executive dysfunctions on daily activities of these individuals.
KeywordsAutism Spectrum Disorder Planning Cognitive flexibility Spatial working memory
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