Emerging Executive Functioning and Motor Development in Infants at High and Low Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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TitleEmerging Executive Functioning and Motor Development in Infants at High and Low Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSt John, T, Estes, AM, Dager, SR, Kostopoulos, P, Wolff, JJ, Pandey, J, Elison, JT, Paterson, SJ, Schultz, RT, Botteron, K, Hazlett, H, Piven, J
JournalFront Psychol
Volume7
Pagination1016
Date Published2016
ISSN1664-1078
Abstract

Existing evidence suggests executive functioning (EF) deficits may be present in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by 3 years of age. It is less clear when, prior to 3 years, EF deficits may emerge and how EF unfold over time. The contribution of motor skill difficulties to poorer EF in children with ASD has not been systematically studied. We investigated the developmental trajectory of EF in infants at high and low familial risk for ASD (HR and LR) and the potential associations between motor skills, diagnostic group, and EF performance. Participants included 186 HR and 76 LR infants. EF (A-not-B), motor skills (Fine and Gross Motor), and cognitive ability were directly assessed at 12 months and 24 months of age. Participants were directly evaluated for ASD at 24 months using DSM-IV-TR criteria and categorized as HR-ASD, HR-Negative, and LR-Negative. HR-ASD and HR-Negative siblings demonstrated less improvement in EF over time compared to the LR-Negative group. Motor skills were associated with group and EF performance at 12 months. No group differences were found at 12 months, but at 24 months, the HR-ASD and HR-Negative groups performed worse than the LR-Negative group overall after controlling for visual reception and maternal education. On reversal trials, the HR-ASD group performed worse than the LR-Negative group. Motor skills were associated with group and EF performance on reversal trials at 24 months. Findings suggest that HR siblings demonstrate altered EF development and that motor skills may play an important role in this process.

DOI10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01016
Alternate JournalFront Psychol
PubMed ID27458411
PubMed Central IDPMC4932099
Grant ListU54 HD083091 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U54 HD086984 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States