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Exploratory Study of Executive Function Abilities Across the Adult Lifespan in Individuals Receiving an ASD Diagnosis in Adulthood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Patricia Abbott, Francesca G. Happé, Rebecca A. Charlton

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4193-4206
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number12
Early online date6 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

King's Authors


Little is known about cognition in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across adulthood. We examined executive function abilities and autism traits in 134 adults receiving a first diagnosis of ASD. Participants aged 18–75 years with abilities in the normal range were assessed on executive function and self-report autism traits. Results suggest that for some abilities relying on speed and sequencing (Trails A and B; Digit Symbol), late-diagnosed individuals with ASD may demonstrate better performance than typical age-norms. On other executive measures (Digit Span, Hayling and Brixton tests) age-related correlations were similar to typical age-norms. Different domains of executive function may demonstrate different trajectories for ageing with ASD, with patterns of slower, accelerated or equivalent age-related change being observed across different measures.

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