High functioning children with autism spectrum disorder: a novel test of multitasking.

  • Mackinlay R
  • Charman T
  • Karmiloff-Smith A
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High functioning children with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger's syndrome (HF-ASD) often experience difficulties organising goal-directed actions in their day-to-day lives, requiring support to schedule daily activities. This study aimed to capture these everyday difficulties experimentally using multitasking, a methodology that taps into the cognitive processes necessary for successful goal-directed activities in everyday life. We investigated multitasking in children with HF-ASD using a novel multitask test, the Battersea Multitask Paradigm. Thirty boys participated in the study, 14 with HF-ASD and 16 typically developing controls, matched for age and IQ. Group differences in multitasking were observed. Participants with HF-ASD were less efficient at planning, attempted fewer tasks, switched inflexibly between tasks and broke performance rules more frequently than controls.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Analysis of Covariance
  • Autistic Disorder -- Complications
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders -- Diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders -- Etiology
  • Cognition Disorders -- Physiopathology
  • Descriptive Statistics
  • Fisher's Exact Test
  • Frontal Lobe -- Physiopathology
  • Funding Source
  • Human
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Mann-Whitney U Test
  • Memory Disorders -- Diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders -- Etiology
  • Memory Disorders -- Physiopathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • One-Way Analysis of Variance
  • P-Value
  • Pearson's Correlation Coefficient
  • Questionnaires
  • Severity of Illness Indices

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  • R Mackinlay

  • T Charman

  • A Karmiloff-Smith

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