Objectives: The present study investigated how children with high-functioning autism (HFA) perform on the executive function task and sentence comprehension task (pragmatic comprehension ability, syntactic/semantic comprehension ability) compared to normal children, and how sentence comprehension ability correlates with executive function. Methods: Sixteen children with HFA and sixteen typically developing peers who were matched on chronological age (7-11 years) participated in the present study. Executive function was assessed using a standardized test 'Kim's frontal executive neuropsychological test for children.' The ability of pragmatic comprehension was measured by a metaphor comprehension task. The ability of syntactic/semantic comprehension was measured by the Korea sentence comprehension test (KOSECT). Two way-mixed ANOVA and Pearson correlation were used to analyze the data. Results: The results were as follows: there was a significant difference between the two groups on the executive function task, showing that children with HFA performed significantly lower than normal children. There was a significant difference between the two groups on metaphor comprehension scores and KOSECT scores, showing that children with HFA performed significantly lower than normal children. Significant correlations among executive function scores and metaphor comprehension scores, age, and KOSECT scores were found in typically developing children. However, there was no significant correlation among executive function scores and metaphor comprehension scores and KOSECT scores in children with HFA. Conclusion: The results of this study showed that children with HFA have more difficulty in executive function and sentence comprehension ability than normal children. Additionally, children with HFA have difficulty in effectively using executive function when they perform on language comprehension tasks.
- Children with high functioning autism
- Executive function
- Pragmatic comprehension ability
- Syntactic/semantic comprehension ability