Distractor Inhibition in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence of a Selective Impairment for Individuals with Co-occurring Motor Difficulties

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Although most researchers agree that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) exhibit atypical attention, there is little consensus on the exact nature of their deficits. We explored whether attentional control in ASD varies as a function of motor proficiency. Nineteen children with ASD and 26 typically-developing controls completed the Movement Assessment Battery for Children and two ocular motor tasks requiring them to generate a saccade toward, and fixate, a visual target in the presence or absence of a distractor. The ASD group demonstrated poorer accuracy than typically-developing controls when distractors were present. Importantly, however, ASD symptomology was only related to poorer accuracy in individuals with motor difficulties. These findings suggest that distractor inhibition may be selectively impaired in this subgroup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-682
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Attention
  • Autism
  • Distractor inhibition
  • Motor skills
  • Saccades

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