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Adults with Asperger syndrome with and without a cognitive profile associated with “non-verbal learning disability.” A brief report

Journal article
Authors Agneta Nydén
Lena Niklasson
Ola Ståhlberg
Henrik Anckarsäter
Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
Elisabet Wentz
Maria Råstam
Published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Volume 4
Issue 4
Pages 612-618
ISSN 1750-9467
Publication year 2010
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Department of Psychology
Pages 612-618
Language en
Keywords Adults, Asperger syndrome, Neuropsychology, Non-verbal learning disability
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


Asperger syndrome (AS) and non-verbal learning disability (NLD) are both characterized by impairments in motor coordination, visuo-perceptual abilities, pragmatics and comprehension of language and social understanding. NLD is also defined as a learning disorder affecting functions in the right cerebral hemisphere. The present study investigates if individuals with AS and a cognitive profile consistent with NLD (i.e. verbal IQ > performance IQ) would also have other problems inherent in NLD, visual memory and attention, reading/writing ability and arithmetic in the presence of preserved verbal memory and attention. Forty-four individuals with AS were assessed with a battery of neuropsychological tests. Reading/writing and arithmetic abilities were investigated. Education and global social adaptive levels were studied. Very few AS participants, even though with NLD cognitive profile showed problems with any of the neurocognitive abilities or academic achievements. However, all had poor global social adaptive functioning and few had paid employment, regardless of their cognitive profile. The present study suggests that AS and NLD are two different conditions even though some individuals in both groups have the verbal IQ > performance IQ profile that has been proposed to be typical of both AS and NLD.

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