De study started with parents, teachers and students filling out screening lists. The parents scale turns out to be very sensitive; the teachers scale isn’t. In other words, the home environment is less structured, and many problems surface here. The school environment is predictable and structured. Here, children can adapt when necessary, using their compensation mechanism.
Social intelligence and executive functioning
The study focuses on two weak functions in the cognitive profile of children with autism: social intelligence and executive functioning. No weak profiles were found for either one of these. Therefore, it looks as if the children that were studies are able to compensate much using their intelligence.
In terms of brain structure, no difference was found between children with autism and the control group. At the same time, the brains of children with autism seem to be over-organized to achieve maximal compensation.
In these children the communication between the ventral stream – where all the structures are located that are of importance for our emotional environment – and the executive network are disturbed. To them, it is hard to organize emotions in the environment.
Children with autism deploy their mind for a number of tasks, but especially to compensate. They use their strong cognition to repair their weaker abilities. In the classroom, this means that one has to prevent that children are continuously compensating, and pay attention to their weak skills.n and Maastricht University.
The study, under supervision of neuro-psychologist professor Bert Aldenkamp of Kempenhaeghe was done in cooperation with De Berkenschutse, Kempenhaeghe, the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior in Nijmegen and the University of Maastricht.