Neural dynamics of executive function in cognitively able kindergarteners with autism spectrum disorders as predictors of concurrent academic achievement

So Hyun Kim, George Buzzell, Susan Faja, Yeo Bi Choi, Hannah R. Thomas, Natalie Hiromi Brito, Lauren C. Shuffrey, William P. Fifer, Frederick D. Morrison, Catherine Lord, Nathan Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although electrophysiological (electroencephalography) measures of executive functions (e.g. error monitoring) have been used to predict academic achievement in typically developing children, work investigating a link between error monitoring and academic skills in children with autism spectrum disorder is limited. In this study, we employed traditional electrophysiological and advanced time–frequency methods, combined with principal component analyses, to extract neural activity related to error monitoring and tested their relations to academic achievement in cognitively able kindergarteners with autism spectrum disorder. In total, 35 cognitively able kindergarteners with autism spectrum disorder completed academic assessments and the child-friendly “Zoo Game” Go/No-go task at school entry. The Go/No-go task successfully elicited an error-related negativity and error positivity in children with autism spectrum disorder as young as 5 years at fronto-central and posterior electrode sites, respectively. We also observed increased response-related theta power during errors relative to correct trials at fronto-central sites. Both larger error positivity and theta power significantly predicted concurrent academic achievement after controlling for behavioral performance on the Zoo Game and intelligence quotient. These results suggest that the use of time–frequency electroencephalography analyses, combined with traditional event-related potential measures, may provide new opportunities to investigate neurobiological mechanisms of executive function and academic achievement in young children with autism spectrum disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)780-794
Number of pages15
JournalAutism
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • academic achievement
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • executive function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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    Kim, S. H., Buzzell, G., Faja, S., Choi, Y. B., Thomas, H. R., Brito, N. H., Shuffrey, L. C., Fifer, W. P., Morrison, F. D., Lord, C., & Fox, N. (2020). Neural dynamics of executive function in cognitively able kindergarteners with autism spectrum disorders as predictors of concurrent academic achievement. Autism, 24(3), 780-794. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361319874920