Statement of purpose: Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often demonstrate deficient attentional ability, but the specific nature of the deficit is unclear. The Attention Networks model provides a useful approach to deconstruct this attentional deficit into its component parts. Method: Fifty-two neurotypical (NT) children and 14 children with ASD performed the child version of the Attention Network Test (ANT). The latter requires participants to indicate the direction of a centre target stimulus, which is presented above/below fixation and sometimes flanked by either congruent or incongruent distractor stimuli. Results: Relative to NT children, those with ASD were: (1) slower to react to spatially cued trials and (2) more error prone on executive (conflict) attention trials. Conclusions: Young children with ASD have intact alerting attention, but less-efficient orienting and executive attention.
- attention networks
- executive function