Self-Perception of Academic Competency in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Thursday, May 11, 2017: 12:00 PM-1:40 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
R. Furlano and E. A. Kelley, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, CANADA

Self-perception is the ability to understand and reflect upon one’s own competency to perform in the world. Although individuals with ASD struggle with certain areas, these individuals tend to overestimate their abilities when asked about their symptomatology, social functioning, and academic abilities. This lack of awareness may make it difficult for individuals to adjust their behaviours in accordance with feedback, leading to greater impairments over time. While there is a growing body of literature examining overestimations of competency in individuals with ASD, little research has focused on examining how different parameters influence this phenomenon.


  1. To examine if self-perception of academic competency in children with ASD differs from typically-developing (TD) controls.
  2. To examine if estimations of competency change after providing feedback on a task. 


Eighty participants, 40 with ASD and 40 TD controls (age range =10-15 years), will participate. Currently 14 participants with ASD, and 21 TD controls have been tested and data collection will be completed for the conference. Participants complete three conditions of an academic task: 1) Correct: participants are asked how many questions they think they answered correctly, 2) Incorrect: participants are asked how many questions they think they answered incorrectly, 3) Feedback: participants are provided with feedback after each question. Participants are asked how well they think they will do prior to completing the task (pre-prediction) and are asked how they think they did after completing the task (post-performance). Difference scores between actual and predicted performance are used in data analysis.


Preliminary results suggest that the ASD group (Mpre-prediction = 6.14, Mpost-performance = 4.93) tends to overestimate their performance before (t(33) = 2.31, p = .02) and after (t(33) = 3.50, p = .001) completing the correct condition compared to TD controls (Mpre-prediction = 3.10, Mpost-performance = 1.05). Results also suggest that the ASD group (Mpre-prediction = 4.93, Mpost-performance = 5.43) tends to overestimate their performance before (t(33) = 2.84, p = .008) and after (t(33) = 4.55, p < .001) completing the incorrect condition compared to TD controls (Mpre-prediction = 1.52, Mpost-performance = 1.23). No differences were found between the groups actual performance on all tasks. When comparing the conditions within groups, the ASD group was more accurate on the feedback condition (Mpost-performance = 2.29 ) compared to the correct (t(13) = 3.58, p = .003) and incorrect (t(13) = 2.76, p = .016) conditions. No differences were found between the feedback (Mpost-performance = 0.65 ) and the correct and incorrect conditions in the TD group.


Examining how different parameters affect how children with ASD self-evaluate will further our understanding of mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. Preliminary results suggest that children with ASD tend to overestimate their competencies before and after completing objective tasks. The findings also suggest that the ASD group’s estimation of competency is more accurate after receiving feedback on the task. A greater understanding of these mechanisms will not only help us understand more about the development of self-perception in ASD but about this population in general.