Date of Conferral







Brandon Cosley


This study examined the inconsistency within research surrounding the relationship between executive functioning skills and autism symptomology in those being assessed for autism in early childhood (e.g., 34 to 60 months of age). Inconsistencies in current research connecting autism symptomology and executive dysfunction affect the best practice of practitioners that assess for disabilities. This study aimed to identify correlations between autism symptomology and executive functioning skills and whether combining autism symptomology and executive functioning skills assessments provide a more reliable classification as autism or non-autism. The framework foundation drew upon research that determined connections between those suffering from traumatic brain injury to the frontal lobe and those with autism. Autism and executive functioning testing outcomes (N = 42) were provided by an early childhood assessment center and entered in to multiple linear and logistic regression models. The results of the multiple linear regression indicated that there is a significant relationship between executive function skills and autism symptoms, and the results of the multiple logistic regression showed that together executive functioning skills and autism symptomology are strong predictors of classification. There is a positive social impact in the results of this study as it provides further knowledge of the best practice for practitioners who assess for disabilities due to the established connections between executive function deficits and autism in early childhood and determined some predictors when assessing for autism. The results may affect how autism and recommendations are identified in early childhood.