Associations between executive function and attention abilities and language and social communication skills in young autistic children.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Executive functioning describes a set of cognitive processes that affect thinking and behavior. Past research has shown that autistic individuals often have delays in the acquisition of executive function abilities. Our study explored how differences in executive function and attention abilities relate to social abilities and communication/language in 180 young autistic children. Data were gathered via caregiver report (questionnaires/interviews) and an assessment of vocabulary skills. The ability to sustain attention to a dynamic video was measured via eye tracking. We found that children with higher levels of executive function skills demonstrated lower levels of social pragmatic problems, a measure of having difficulties in social contexts. Furthermore, children who were able to sustain their attention longer to the video displayed higher levels of expressive language. Our results emphasize the importance of executive function and attention skills across multiple areas of functioning in autistic children, in particular those that involve language and social communication.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Howard, J; Herold, B; Major, S; Leahy, C; Ramseur, K; Franz, L; Deaver, M; Vermeer, S; Carpenter, KL; Murias, M; Huang, WA; Dawson, G

Published Date

  • February 19, 2023

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 13623613231154310 -

PubMed ID

  • 36802865

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1461-7005

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/13623613231154310


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England