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Executive functioning in preschool children affected by autism spectrum disorder: A pilot study

  • Autori: Precenzano, F.; Ruberto, M.; Parisi, L.; Salerno, M.; Maltese, A.; Vagliano, C.; Messina, G.; DI FOLCO, A.; DI FILIPPO, T.; Roccella, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2017
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Introduction: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a complex set of neurological dysfunction and development characterized by deficits in social and non-verbal interaction. Few studies have explored the executive functioning in ASD preschoolers. The aim of this pilot study is the assessment of executive functioning in preschool children with ASD. Material and methods: 8 ASD children (7 males, 1 female) mean age 3.09 (SD ± 0.83 years) were enrolled in the study and compared with a control group of 15 typically developing children (12 males, 3 females) (mean age 24.3 ± 0.61). All subjects underwent assessment of executive functioning with the BRIEF-P test. Results: The two groups were matched for age (p = 0.625) and gender (p = 0.900). Table 1 shows the comparison between the two groups at the BRIEF-P, with significantly higher scores on all subscales of ASD children compared with controls. Conclusions: Despite the small sample examined the results of this study agree with what is already known in the literature confirm the presence of a significant deficit in executive functions of subjects with ASD emphasizing for the first time the emergence of such problems at an early stage of development, but demanding further studies to confirm this.