A novel battery (BAFE; Valeri et al. 2015) was used in order to assess three executive function (EF) abilities (working memory, inhibition and shifting) in a sample of 27 intellectually able preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with 27 typically developing children matched on age and nonverbal IQ. Differences in EF skills were analyzed in participants with distinct ASD symptom severity. Children with ASD performed worse than typical controls on both set-shifting and inhibition, but not on visuo-spatial working memory. Additionally, children with more severe ASD symptoms showed a worse performance on inhibition than children with milder symptoms. These results confirm the presence of EF deficits and highlight a link between ASD symptoms and EF impairments in preschool age.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Executive functions
- Working memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology