Date of Submission

2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

Abstract

The current study examined teacher ratings of the executive capacities of groups of ADHD-diagnosed and ASD-diagnosed students; first by comparing teacher ratings of each clinical group to the teacher ratings of a group of matched nonclinical peers, then by comparing the teacher ratings of the two clinical groups. The data for both clinical groups and their respective matched control groups were part of the data collected during the standardization of the McCloskey Executive Function Scale – Teacher Report Form (MEFS-TR). It was hypothesized that when compared to their matched control groups, teacher ratings of the ADHD-diagnosed group would reflect a greater number of executive capacity deficits within the Academic Arena of Involvement than in the Self/Social Arena of Involvement, and teacher ratings of the ASD-diagnosed group would reflect a greater number of executive capacity deficits within the Self/Social Arena of Involvement than within the Academic Arena of Involvement. Results supported to some degree the hypotheses; for many aspects of executive control, significantly larger percentages of ADHD-diagnosed students than matched controls were rated as having more deficits within the Academic Arena than within the Self/Social Arena and significantly larger percentages of ASD-diagnosed students than matched controls were rated as having more deficits within the Self/Social Arena than within the Academic Arena. Additionally, as anticipated, results showed that for many aspects of executive control, significantly greater percentages of ASD-diagnosed students than ADHD-diagnosed students were rated as having more deficits within the Self/Social Arena and in some specific cases, significantly greater percentages of ADHD-diagnosed students than ASD-diagnosed students were rated as having more deficits within the Academic Arena. Unanticipated however, was the finding that for many aspects of executive control, significantly larger percentages of ASD-diagnosed students also were rated as having more deficits than the ADHD-diagnosed students within the Academic Arena. Finally, as anticipated, ADHD-diagnosed students were more likely to be rated as having executive function deficits reflecting a lack of knowing when to activate an executive capacity, whereas ASD-diagnosed students were more likely to be rated as having executive skill deficits reflecting a lack of knowing how to activate an executive capacity.

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