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J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Oct 25. doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3786-4. [Epub ahead of print]

Assessing intelligence at autism diagnosis: mission impossible? Testability and cognitive profile of autistic preschoolers.

Author information

1
Autism Research Group, CIUSSS du Nord-de-l'ïle-de-Montréal, 7070 boulevard Perras, Montreal, QC, H1E 1A4, Canada.
2
Psychology Department, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888 succursale Centre-ville, Montreal, H3C 3P8, Canada.
3
Psychoeducation and Psychology Department, Université du Québec en Outaouais, succursale Hull, C.P. 1250, Gatineau, J8X 3X7, Canada.
4
Autism Research Group, CIUSSS du Nord-de-l'ïle-de-Montréal, 7070 boulevard Perras, Montreal, QC, H1E 1A4, Canada. soulieres.isabelle@uqam.ca.
5
Psychology Department, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888 succursale Centre-ville, Montreal, H3C 3P8, Canada. soulieres.isabelle@uqam.ca.

Abstract

Intelligence in minimally verbal children on the autism spectrum (AS) is at risk of being underestimated. The present study investigated testability and cognitive profile of preschool autistic children using conventional tools and strength-informed tools. Fifty-two AS children and fifty-four typical children matched on age (31-77 months) were assessed. Testability increased with age in both groups, was generally lower in AS children, but not related to their test performance. Typical children performed significantly better than AS children on conventional tools, but performance of both groups was similar on strength-informed tools. Differences of performance across tests were much greater in the AS group. These results emphasize the heterogenous, yet characteristic, cognitive profile in preschool children, and introduce the usefulness of flexible testing.

KEYWORDS:

Assessment; Autism; Cognition; Flexible testing; Intelligence; Minimally verbal; Perception; Preschool; Testability

PMID:
30361939
DOI:
10.1007/s10803-018-3786-4

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