Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The diagnosis of ADHD requires the exclusionary criteria for any Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), making it impossible to have comorbid disorders. This study investigated executive function and memory differences between 11 children with Asperger’s syndrome, 13 children with ADHD, and 36 controls, all ranging in age from 7-16 years. Executive function was assessed using Conner’s Continuous Performance Test (CPT), Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST), Tower of London Task (TOL), Trail Making Test, Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF), Grooved Pegboard Test, and the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (COWAT). Memory was assessed using a subtest from the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML). The children were also given subtests from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-IV (WISC IV) and Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT). Their parents were given the Child Behavior Checklist, ADHD Rating Scale, and a parental interview. On some measures of executive function the ADHD, Asperger, and Control groups did not significantly differ on measures such as Trials A & B, COWAT, Grooved Pegboard, TOL, or most measures of the ROCF. Our findings suggest that the Asperger group and Control group differed on a number of different measures on the CPT and the WCST. On measures of memory Asperger and Control children were significantly better than the ADHD group on the Story Memory from the WRAMML When looking at the other measures the Asperger children performed poorly on the Symbol Search and Coding subtests of the WISC IV when compared to the ADHD and Control children. The data on the WAIT suggests that reading comprehension differences are found between ADHD children and the Control and Asperger children. Based on parental report ADHD and Asperger children both exhibit similar symptoms found on the CBCL. Our findings suggest the difficulty of children with ADHD seems to rest on sustained attention and memory. Asperger children seem to have more difficulty on processing speed, visual scanning abilities, and cognitive flexibility. The results of this study may be able to help discriminate between the diagnostic groups of ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome. It is recommended that future research expands the test measures and looks at the areas where discrepancies were.

Included in

Psychology Commons