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Asperger syndrome and "non-verbal learning problems" in a longitudinal perspective: Neuropsychological and social adaptive outcome in early adult life.

Journal article
Authors Bibbi Hagberg
Agneta Nydén
Mats Cederlund
Christopher Gillberg
Published in Psychiatry research
Volume 210
Issue 2
Pages 553-558
ISSN 1872-7123
Publication year 2013
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Pages 553-558
Language en
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


Co-existence of Asperger syndrome (AS) and non-verbal learning disability (NLD) has been proposed based on the observation that people with AS tend to have significantly higher verbal than performance IQ (VIQ>PIQ by ≥15 points), one of the core features of NLD. In the present study we examined neuropsychological and social adaptive profiles with "non-verbal learning problems" associated with NLD in a group of individuals with AS followed from childhood into early adult life. The group was divided into three subgroups: (i) persistent NLD (P-NLD), i.e. NLD (VIQ>PIQ) both in childhood and early adulthood occasions, (ii) childhood NLD (CO-NLD), i.e. NLD (VIQ>PIQ) only at original diagnosis, or (iii) No NLD (VIQ>PIQ) ever (NO-NLD). All three subgroups were followed prospectively from childhood into adolescence and young adult life. One in four to one in five of the whole group of males with AS had P-NLD. The P-NLD subgroup had poorer neuropsychological outcome in early adult life than did those with CO-NLD and those with NO-NLD. There were no unequivocal markers in early childhood that predicted subgroup status in early adult life, but early motor delay and a history of early speech-language problems tended to be associated with P-NLD.

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