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Executive functions disorders in high functioning autism and rehabilitation implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 March 2020

A. Di Santantonio*
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Health and Disability Integrated Program, Bologna, Italy
M. Manfredini
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, Bologna, Italy
N. Varucciu
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Health and Disability Integrated Program, Bologna, Italy
M. Fabbri
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, Bologna, Italy
M.C. Cutrone
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, Bologna, Italy
M. Villanova
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, Bologna, Italy
F. Resca
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Department of Mental Health and Addictions, Bologna, Italy
R. Di Sarro
Affiliation:
Local health authority, Health and Disability Integrated Program, Bologna, Italy
*
*Corresponding author.

Abstract

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Introduction

The term executive functions (EFs) includes a set of cognitive processes such as planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, inhibition, mental flexibility, multi-tasking, and initiation and monitoring of actions. EFs are the higher order control processes to guide behaviour.

Some studies on the relationship between EFs and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) showed deficit in the cognitive flexibility and speed processing, particularly with Asperger syndrome. Recently, Merchán-Naranjo et al. [1] supported that children's and adolescents with autism without intellectual disability are insufficient in at least 5 domains: attention, working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control and problem-solving.

Aims

Our work is aimed at verifying if the presence of a dysexecutive syndrome significantly impacts on the adaptive functioning of people with high functioning autism.

Methods

A group of young adults with ASD were administered traditional neuropsychological assessment, specific assessment, focusing on the planning strategies for solving problems (Test Tower of London), abstraction and categorization (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test), and the Dysexecutive Questionnaires.

Results

The results showed the presence of a specific deficit in the executive functioning in an average cognitive functioning.

Conclusions

Integrate the standard cognitive screening with a specific EFs assessment resulted to be very useful for the clinician to realize neuropsychological and psychotherapeutic individualized treatment.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.

Type
e-Poster viewing: child and adolescent psychiatry
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2017

References

Merchán-Naranjo, J., Boada, L., del Rey-Mejías, Á., Mayoral, M., Llorente, C., Arango, C., et al.La función ejecutiva está alterada en los trastornos del espectro autista, pero esta no correlaciona con la inteligencia. Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Barc) 2016; 9: 395010.1016/j.rpsm.2015.10.005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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