Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms moderate cognition and behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders.

New CAR Research Sheds Light on

 

Universal Screening for Autism in Toddlers

TitleAttention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms moderate cognition and behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsYerys, BE, Wallace, GL, Sokoloff, JL, Shook, DA, James, JD, Kenworthy, L
JournalAutism Res
Volume2
Issue6
Pagination322-33
Date Published2009 Dec
ISSN1939-3806
KeywordsAdaptation, Psychological, Adolescent, Asperger Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity, Autistic Disorder, Child, Child Behavior Disorders, Child Development Disorders, Pervasive, Cognition Disorders, Comorbidity, Executive Function, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Neuropsychological Tests, Personality Assessment, Psychometrics, Social Adjustment
Abstract

Recent estimates suggest that 31% of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) meet diagnostic criteria for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and another 24% of children with ASD exhibit subthreshold clinical ADHD symptoms. Presence of ADHD symptoms in the context of ASD could have a variety of effects on cognition, autistic traits, and adaptive/maladaptive behaviors including: exacerbating core ASD impairments; adding unique impairments specific to ADHD; producing new problems unreported in ASD or ADHD; having no clear impact; or producing some combination of these scenarios. Children with ASD and co-morbid ADHD symptoms (ASD+ADHD; n = 21), children with ASD without ADHD (ASD; n = 28), and a typically developing control group (n = 21) were included in the study; all groups were matched on age, gender-ratio, IQ, and socioeconomic status. Data were collected on verbal and spatial working memory, response inhibition, global executive control (EC), autistic traits, adaptive functioning, and maladaptive behavior problems. In this sample, the presence of ADHD symptoms in ASD exacerbated impairments in EC and adaptive behavior and resulted in higher autistic trait, and externalizing behavior ratings. ADHD symptoms were also associated with greater impairments on a lab measure of verbal working memory. These findings suggest that children with ASD+ADHD symptoms present with exacerbated impairments in some but not all domains of functioning relative to children with ASD, most notably in adaptive behavior and working memory. Therefore, ADHD may moderate the expression of components of the ASD cognitive and behavioral phenotype, but ASD+ADHD may not represent an etiologically distinct phenotype from ASD alone.

DOI10.1002/aur.103
Alternate JournalAutism Res
PubMed ID19998356
PubMed Central IDPMC3012375
Grant ListU54 MH066417-01A1 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
U54 MH066417 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD046388 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P30 HD040677 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD046388-01A2 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U54 HD061221 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
M01 RR013297-03 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
M01-RR13297 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
P30 HD040677-03 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
/ / Intramural NIH HHS / United States
P30HD40677 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32HD046388 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
M01 RR013297 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States
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