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Executive function predicts school readiness in autistic and typical preschool children

Pellicano, E; Kenny, L; Brede, J; Klaric, E; Lichwa, H; McMillin, R; (2017) Executive function predicts school readiness in autistic and typical preschool children. Cognitive Development , 43 (C) pp. 1-13. 10.1016/j.cogdev.2017.02.003.

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Abstract

Children’s emerging executive functions (EF) have been shown to be critical for a whole range of other functions, including school readiness and later academic success. Here we examine for the first time whether individual differences in EF are uniquely associated with autistic children’s readiness to learn in school, beyond general and developmental influences in age and ability. Thirty autistic and 30 typical preschool children, matched on age and ability, were assessed on EF (working memory, inhibition, set-shifting) and school readiness measures. Autistic children performed significantly worse on school readiness measures and EF measures relative to typical children. Furthermore, individual differences in children’s EF skills, especially in inhibitory control and working memory, were uniquely related to variation in their school readiness for both autistic and non-autistic children. The findings from this cross-sectional study provide further support for the potential role of EF in explaining the variability in autistic children’s functional outcomes.

Type: Article
Title: Executive function predicts school readiness in autistic and typical preschool children
DOI: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2017.02.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2017.02.003
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Autism; Executive function; School readiness; Academic achievement; Outcomes
UCL classification: UCL > School of Education
UCL > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology & Human Development
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1551539
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