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