Executieve functies bij kinderen met een verstandelijke beperking en autisme.
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Background. Executive functions (EFs) are an important predictor of the social, educational and adaptive functioning of children with a regular development. But how do the EFs of children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop? Aim. This study investigated whether there is a significant difference in executive function scores between children with ASD, children with ID, and children with ASD and ID with regard to: 1) working memory, 2) inhibition, 3) cognitive flexibility, and 4) selective attention? Method. EF tasks that measure the working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility and selective attention were conducted on a total of 159 children. The children have been divided into four groups; children with regular development, children with ID, children with ASD, and children with ASD and ID. Groups were matched on mental age. Results. A Welch’s ANOVA with a Games-Howell Post Hoc was applied. The results show that the control group scores significantly better on cognitive flexibility than the children with ID and children with ASD. In addition, the control group scores significantly better on inhibition than the children with ID and children with ASD. Conclusion. Executive functions of children with ID or ASD are different for some functions but similar for other functions as compared to executive functions of typically developing children matched on mental age. Practical implications of these findings are discussed.