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Sensorimotor and Executive Functioning Differences between High-Functioning Individuals with Autism and Typically-Developing Individuals

Abu-Dahab, Sana M.N. (2008) Sensorimotor and Executive Functioning Differences between High-Functioning Individuals with Autism and Typically-Developing Individuals. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Autism is a life-long neurodevelopment disorder affecting 1 in every 150 children in the United States. Along with the three major hallmarks of autism; impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, and repetitive and restricted stereotypes of behavior, individuals with autism face a variety of impairments that affect their everyday functioning. These impairments include, but are not limited to, impairments in motor skills, impairments in sensory-perceptual skills, and impairments in executive functioning (EF) skills. This dissertation explored these aforementioned impairments in individuals with high-functioning autism (IHFA) in three studies. The first study explored simple and complex motor and simple and complex sensory-perceptual skills differences between IHFA and typically-developing individuals (TDI) for different age groups extending from childhood to early adulthood. The study found IHFA to be impaired compared to TDI on simple and complex motor skills across the continuum of age. However, for sensory-perceptual skills IHFA impairments were found only for complex sensory-perceptual skills for an older group of IHFA. The second study explored factors that were associated with good and poor complex fine-motor skills for IHFA and TDI. Two models were generated utilizing Exhaustive Chi-Square Automatic Interaction Detection (CHAID). In this study, we found different factors to be associated with complex fine-motor skills for IHFA versus TDI. The patterns of association for IHFA were also different from TDI. In the third study, we explored the factors that were associated with good and poor EF skills by generating two models, one for IHFA and one for TDI, utilizing Exhaustive CHAID. In this study, we found similar factors to be associated with EF skills for both IHFA and TDI, however, the factors held different levels of association with EF in each group. Findings from the first study suggest the importance of early assessment and continuous re-assessment of simple and complex motor skills and complex sensory-perceptual skills for IHFA. Findings from the second and third study offer models that have the potential to establish priorities for assessment and intervention for IHFA.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Abu-Dahab, Sana
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHolm, Margo B.mbholm@pitt.eduMBHOLM
Committee MemberSkidmore, Elizabeth R.skidmore@pitt.eduSKIDMORE
Committee MemberRogers, Joan C.jcr@pitt.eduJCR
Committee MemberMinshew, Nancy J.minshewnj@upmc.eduNMINSHEW
Date: 15 July 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 May 2008
Approval Date: 15 July 2008
Submission Date: 6 June 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Rehabilitation Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autistic Disorder; Motor Skills; Neuropsychology; Perception; Problem-solving
Other ID:, etd-06062008-115012
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:36


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