Disordered cortical connectivity underlies the executive function deficits in children with autism spectrum disorders

Yvonne Ming Yee Han, Agnes S. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The present study compared high-functioning (HFA) and low-functioning (LFA) children with typically developing children (TDC) on their executive functions as measured by the Hong Kong List Learning Test, D2 Test of Concentration, Five Point Test, Children's Color Trail Test, Tower of California Test, and Go/No-Go task and neural connectivity as measured by theta coherence in the distributed fronto-parietal network. Thirty-eight children with ASD (19 HFA and 19 LFA) and 28 TDC children, aged 8–17 years, participated voluntarily in the study. The results on executive function showed that the LFA group demonstrated the poorest performance as exhibited by their Executive Composite and individual executive function scores, while the TDC group exhibited the highest. These results have extended the findings of previous studies in demonstrating that HFA and LFA children have significant differences in their degree of executive function deficits. The results on neural connectivity also showed that children with ASD demonstrated a different pattern of electroencephalography (EEG) coherence from TDC children, as demonstrated by the significantly elevated theta coherence in the fronto-parietal network, and that the severity of executive dysfunction between high- and low-functioning children with ASD was found to be associated with the disordered neural connectivity in these children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Autism
  • Children
  • EEG coherence
  • Executive dysfunction
  • Theta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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