The role of distinct executive functions on adaptive behavior in children and adolescents with Down syndrome.

Will, Elizabeth ASchworer, Emily KEsbensen, Anna J


Executive function is what we call a set of mental skills including memory, flexible thinking, and self control, that are used in everyday life. Difficulties with executive function is a well known feature of Down syndrome (DS). This study looked at the adaptive behaviors used by children and adolescents with DS struggling with executive function in an effort to better understand and support them and their caregivers.


Difficulties in executive function are a relatively well-characterized feature of the neuropsychological profile in Down syndrome (DS), yet the impact of these challenges on aspects of daily functioning remain poorly understood. We examined the role of specific executive functions on domains of adaptive behavior in children and adolescents with DS. Participants included 68 children and adolescents with DS between 6-17 years old (mean chronological age = 12.56 years; SD = 3.22) and their caregivers. Parent reported executive function skills were measured using the BRIEF-2 and adaptive behavior was measured using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-III. Results identified working memory as a significant predictor of Communication, Daily Living, and Socialization skills, and Shifting significantly predicted Daily Living and Socialization. Findings demonstrate the relation between executive functions and adaptive behavior and highlight the effects of working memory on aspects of daily functioning for individuals with DS.


Neurodevelopmental Disorders