Attentional Performance in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Authors

1 Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

2 Department of Animal Biology University of Tabriz

3 Department of Psychology University of Tabriz

4 Department of psychology University of Tabriz

5 Department of Psychiatry Tabriz University of Medical Science

Abstract

Attentional dysfunction has been shown as a core deficit in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Attention and concentration affect children with autism in many ways. Impairment in these areas influences learning, memory, daily living skills, and cognitive ability. For instance, the abilities to inhibit responses, discriminate relevant from irrelevant information, utilize system of rules, and solve problems, which are dependent on a child's memory and concentration. Therefore, in the present study, the possibility of deficit in attention in 15 high functioning children with autism spectrum disorder aged between 6-13 years old were evaluated. The assessment procedure included sustained attention using a Continuous Performance Test; and shifting attention using a Wisconsin Card Sorting Task involving different categories for sorting; focusing and selective attention, using the Stroop Test; working memory, using Digit Span, Coding-Digit Symbol and Arithmetic subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-R). The results indicated that attentional impairments in high functioned autistic children, where they were observed, are at the conceptual level, with implications for executive functions and the monitoring of novel information, and for the ability to organize information along with monitoring ongoing events and making rapid adjustments.

Keywords