Poor Initiation and Planning Abilities in Young People with Autistic Traits

Thursday, May 11, 2017: 5:30 PM-7:00 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
N. Albein-Urios, M. Kirkovski and P. G. Enticott, Deakin University, Geelong, AUSTRALIA
Background: The investigation of autistic traits in the “typically developing” population has shown that people with sub-threshold behavioural autistic traits perform poorer on some executive functions. However, little is known about how these traits relate to problems in executive functions using ecological measures.

Objectives:  The present study examined whether young adults with autistic traits experience increased executive functions difficulties in their everyday life.

Methods: Seventy young adults (18-30 years old) were administered the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ), and designated as high autistic traits (n=26) or low autistic traits (n=44). The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF-A) was used to evaluate executive function.

Results: Individuals with higher autistic traits reported having more difficulties than the low autistic traits group in the BRIEF-A self-report in two scales: Initiate (p<0.05) and Planning (p<0.01).

Conclusions: Problems with initiation, the ability to begin an activity, and planning, the ability to anticipate future and implement goals, have been consistently reported in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. These results show that “typically developing” population with high autistic traits also experience difficulties in these two abilities.These findings call for further research on the relationship between autistic trait and executive functions, particularly with respect to underlying mechanisms that might mediate this association.