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Neuropsychological profile and adaptive functioning in children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders
SOPENA, S., WILSON, B.A. & Humphrey, A.
Brain Impairment, 6(2), 118-119
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Children with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) who do not meet diagnostic criteria for autism and are not globally-learning disabled (IQ below 70) are generally placed in mainstream schools. These children require additional support because they are often reported to have problems staying on task, planning and organising their course work. The main purpose of this study was to determine whether these behavioural difficulties are associated with specific neuropsychological deficits, particularly executive and memory deficits. In addition, we also aimed to identify neuropsychological correlates of behaviour so that appropriate and specific interventions can be developed in order to remediate those behaviours that impede learning. Methods: Nineteen children with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified, Asperger disorder, and high-functioning autism were included in this study. All children completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery for children (NEPSY) which evaluates a range of cognitive functions (attention/executive function, language, memory, sensorimotor and visuospatial abilities). Parents and teachers completed ecologically valid questionnaires of executive function (Dysexecutive Questionnaire for Children - DEX-C and Behavioural Rating Inventory of Executive Function - BRIEF). Results: The results show that whereas children with PDD did not show significant impairment in any of the core domains measured with the NEPSY, both parents and teachers reported significant problems in executive function as measured with the DEX-C and the BRIEF. Conclusions: Behavioural measures of executive function are more indicative of daily and educational problems than a particular neuropsychological test in children with PDD. The results obtained from this study suggest that even if children with PDD have normal intellectual ability there is a need to provide specific educational support to compensate for their behavioural problems in order for them to access the curriculum in mainstream schools. Abstract only published - Paper given at the Conference on Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, July 11-12, 2005, Galway Ireland.