Do children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder have atypical short-term memory processes?
|Institution:||University of Western Australia|
|Keywords:||Autism spectrum disorder; Short-term memory; Inner speech; Interference; Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder|
|Full text PDF:||http://repository.uwa.edu.au:80/R/?func=dbin-jump-full&object_id=40257&local_base=GEN01-INS01|
Two studies were conducted with the primary aim of assessing whether children with ASD and AD/HD have atypical STM processes (processes related to storing and retrieving information over a brief timeframe), including deficiencies in the ability to use inner speech in the service of STM performance. The first study (Study 1) looked at the basis for improvements in STM performance and interference effects in typically developing (TD) children and provided a normative sample from which to predict the performance of children with ASD and AD/HD (Study 2) on two tasks – one involving readily nameable pictures and one involving difficult-to-name abstract shapes. Two interference conditions (irrelevant speech and irrelevant visual noise), along with a nointerference condition, were administered within both tasks. Consistent with previous research, results involving TD children showed agerelated improvements in STM. Additionally, irrelevant speech affected STM for both nameable pictures and abstract designs. This is consistent with research showing children over age 7 attempt to recode visually-perceived information (in this case, even hard-to-name visual stimuli) verbally to augment STM performance. Irrelevant visual noise negatively affected STM only for abstract designs and not for nameable pictures. Results from Study 2 demonstrated that, for nameable pictures, performance was linked to cognitive ability. Children with ASD performed as well as predicted by the performance of TD children when verbal abilities were taken into account and lower than predicted when perceptual reasoning abilities were taken into account. Children with AD/HD showed the opposite pattern, wherein they performed as predicted when perceptual reasoning abilities were taken into account and lower than predicted for their verbal reasoning ability. Both groups of children showed interference effects similar to the TD group, though STM performance was at lower levels. Results did not provide any evidence to suggest that children with ASD or AD/HD utilise compensatory processes, including an over-reliance on visual means to mediate success on STM tasks. Cognitive abilities were not associated with performance for children with ASD or AD/HD on the abstract designs tasks. Concept formation abilities were implicated as an area of weakness in both groups of children. Overall, results provide evidence that both children with ASD and AD/HD are able to use inner speech to augment STM performance, although they may perform at lower levels than TD children. The distinction between performance for children with ASD and AD/HD based on verbal and perceptual reasoning abilities for the nameable pictures task appears to represent a novel finding to dissociate between these two developmental disabilities. Two studies were conducted with the primary aim of assessing whether children with ASD and AD/HD have atypical STM processes (processes related to storing and retrieving information over a brief timeframe), including deficiencies in the ability to use inner…