It has been suggested that children with nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD) or Asperger's Syndrome (AS) may show difficulties with executive functioning. There were 3 groups in this study who completed a neuropsychological battery of visual-spatial, executive functioning, and reasoning tasks; AS (n = 37), NLD (n = 31), and controls (n = 40). Results indicated that children in both clinical groups scored within average limits on measures of spatial reasoning and verbal ability. Fluid reasoning was also found to be within average ranges for all groups. The AS group experienced significant problems with cognitive flexibility compared to the other two groups. In contrast the NLD group showed fewer difficulties with cognitive flexibility but more problems with visual sequencing. These findings suggest that performance on executive function measures for children with AS or NLD is remarkably similar with subtle differences present.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgments We would like to acknowledge the support of the Department of Radiology at Michigan State University as well as the private foundation that chooses to remain anonymous that provided funding for this work.
- Cognitive flexibility
- Executive function
- High functioning autism
- Nonverbal learning disability
- Visual sequencing