Master of Arts
Duerden, Emma G.
Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are characterized by diverse cognitive deficits. Early identification of cognitive deficits is fundamental to improving academic and emotional/behavioural outcomes in children. Creyos has pioneered online cognitive testing which assesses working memory, attention, reasoning and verbal abilities. We developed audiovisual instructions for the task battery and implemented them in an online sample of children ages 4-16 with ADHD (n = 83), ASD (n = 37), and typically developing children (TD) (n = 86), to determine whether unique cognitive profiles would emerge. Four tasks reflective of working memory, reasoning, and attentional processes correctly classified ~53-60% of each diagnostic group. The ADHD group had lower scores on attentional tasks, while the ASD group had lower scores on reasoning and more attempts across all tasks, compared to TD. Results suggest that the battery is feasible to implement in these populations.
Summary for Lay Audience
Commonly diagnosed Neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) include autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with NDDs often experience a wide range of cognitive difficulties which can seriously impact their academic, emotional and behavioural outcomes at school. In this study, we partnered with Creyos, who has created online cognitive testing in adults. These ‘gamified’ tasks assess a number of cognitive abilities including working memory, attention, verbal skills, and reasoning. We developed audiovisual instructions to make these tasks more suitable to children with and without NDDs. These tasks were then used in an online sample of children with ASD, ADHD, and typically developing children. We wanted to see how each group of children performed on the tasks, to assess their relative cognitive strengths and difficulties. We found that the Creyos tasks could successfully categorize each group of children based on their task performance. The ADHD group had lower scores on attentional tasks compared to TD children. The ASD group had lower scores on reasoning compared to TD children. The Creyos task battery may eventually be used to help identify cognitive difficulties and improve outcomes in children with NDDs.
Hennessy, Abagail, "Identifying Cognitive Profiles in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders Using Online Cognitive Testing" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9310.
Available for download on Sunday, March 31, 2024