Neurocognitive profiles in autism spectrum disorder
The current research project examines the performance of a group of high functioning young adult males with autism spectrum disorders on standardized measures of neurocognitive functioning to determine whether distinct cognitive profiles of strengths and weaknesses emerge. Neuropsychological test data across various domains: general cognitive ability, visuospatial processing, verbal learning and memory, visual learning and memory, working memory, reasoning, cognitive flexibility, attention, receptive language, expressive language, social and emotional processing, and fine motor skills was examined. Data were analyzed using cluster analysis to assess for the presence and nature of unique clusters/subgroups based on neuropsychological test performance. Three unique clusters were derived from the analyses. This study highlights the well-documented heterogeneity across the spectrum of autism and suggests a method for parsing a heterogeneous sample of ASD subjects into smaller and more meaningful homogeneous groups using standardized neuropsychological assessments.