from the parent-reported dept.
Women and girls with autism may face greater challenges with real world planning, organization and other daily living skills, according to a study published in the journal Autism Research.
Led by researchers within the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children's National Health System, the National Institute of Mental Health, and The George Washington University, the study is the largest to date examining executive function-including the ability to make a plan, get organized, and follow through on the plan as needed-and adaptive skills-ability to perform basic daily tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk- in women and girls with ASD.
"Our goal was to look at real world skills, not just the diagnostic behaviors we use clinically to diagnose ASD, to understand how people are actually doing in their day to day lives," says Allison Ratto Ph.D., , a psychologist in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children's National and one of the study's authors. "When parents were asked to rate a child's day-to-day functioning, it turns out that girls were struggling more with these independence skills. This was surprising because in general, girls with ASD have better social and communication skills during direct assessments. The natural assumption would be that those communication and social skills would assist them to function more effectively in the world, but we found that this isn't always the case."
The study collected parent-reported data from several rating scales of executive function and adaptive behavior, including the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Parent Form (BRIEF) and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-II (VABS-II). The group included 79 females and 158 males meeting clinical criteria for autism spectrum disorders, ranging in ages from 7 to 18 years old. The groups were matched for intelligence, age and level of autism and ADHD symptoms.
Journal Reference: Emily I. White, Gregory L. Wallace, Julia Bascom, Anna C. Armour, Kelly Register-Brown, Haroon S. Popal, Allison B. Ratto, Alex Martin, Lauren Kenworthy. Sex differences in parent-reported executive functioning and adaptive behavior in children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Autism Research, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/aur.1811