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Asperger's syndrome and autism: neurocognitive aspects.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.


The objectives of this study were to see: (1) whether children with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) have similar neurocognitive deficits compared to nonretarded, or high-functioning autistic (HFA) children; and (2) whether the essential cognitive deficit among these children is in language or abstract problem solving. Subjects with AS, HFA, and a control group of socially impaired child psychiatric outpatient controls (OPC) were compared on a battery of neuropsychological tests. The results indicated that the AS and HFA groups differed little but that large differences from the OPC were observed on all tests. When the AS and HFA with FSIQ above 85 were compared to the OPC, outstanding deficits on motor coordination, language comprehension, and facial recognition were observed. Finally, some evidence is presented to suggest that the pattern of deficits of AS and HFA subjects varied by developmental level. The implications of these results for a neurological theory of autism are discussed.

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