Atypical Development of Attentional Control Associates with Later Adaptive Functioning, Autism and ADHD Traits

the Eurosibs Team, Alexandra Hendry, Emily J.H. Jones, Rachael Bedford, Linn Andersson Konke, Jannath Begum Ali, Sven Bӧlte, Karin C. Brocki, Ellen Demurie, Mark Johnson, Mirjam K.J. Pijl, Herbert Roeyers, Tony Charman, Sheila Achermann, Mary Agyapong, Rebecka Astenvald, Lisa Axelson, Tessel Bazelmans, Karlijn Blommers, Chloè BontinckCarlijn van den Boomen, Sofie Boterberg, Ricarda Braukmann, Yvette de Bruijn, Eva Bruyneel, Jan K. Buitelaar, Leila Dafner, Fahime Darki, Kim Davies, Mutluhan Ersoy, Terje Falck-Ytter, Janice Fernandes, Zoë Freeman, Teea Gliga, Gustaf Gredebäck, Marian Greensmith, Rianne Haartsen, Sanne van Ierland-Veerhoek, Maretha V. de Jonge, Sarah Kalwarowsky, Chantal Kemner, Anna Kolesnik, Manon de Korte, Johan Lundin-Kleberg, Nicolette M. Munsters, Pär Nyström, Greg Pasco, Laura Pirazzoli, Johanna Ristolainen, Andrietta Stadin, Chloë Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Autism is frequently associated with difficulties with top-down attentional control, which impact on individuals’ mental health and quality of life. The developmental processes involved in these attentional difficulties are not well understood. Using a data-driven approach, 2 samples (N = 294 and 412) of infants at elevated and typical likelihood of autism were grouped according to profiles of parent report of attention at 10, 15 and 25 months. In contrast to the normative profile of increases in attentional control scores between infancy and toddlerhood, a minority (7–9%) showed plateauing attentional control scores between 10 and 25 months. Consistent with pre-registered hypotheses, plateaued growth of attentional control was associated with elevated autism and ADHD traits, and lower adaptive functioning at age 3 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4085–4105
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Early online date27 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank all the families who participated in the Babystudie, British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS), Studying Autism and ADHD Risks (STAARS), Sisters And Brothers of Children with Autism (ZEBRA) and Early Autism Sweden (EASE) projects. We would also like to acknowledge the project funders, as follows: Babystudie: funded by the Research Foundation Flanders, Ghent University Special Research Fund and the Support Fund Marguerite-Marie Delacroix; BASIS: Funded by MRC Programme [grant numbers G0701484 and MR/K021389/1], the BASIS funding consortium led by Autistica ( ), Autism Speaks, EC FP7 (EU-AIMS Innovative Medicines Initiative joint undertaking grant agreement number 115300, resources of which are composed of financial contributions from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, Autism Speaks and EFPIA companies’ in-kind contribution) and EC (AIMS-2-TRIALS Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 777394. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA and Autism Speaks, Autistica, SFARI); EASE: funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Dnr. NHS14-1802:1); ZEBRA: funded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) VICI grant n° 45307004, and the K.F. Hein Fonds. A. Hendry was supported by an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (ES/S011730/1) and by the Scott Family Junior Research Fellowship in Autism (University College Oxford). R. Bedford was supported by a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (103046/Z/13/Z) and a King’s Prize Fellowship (204823/Z/16/Z). This research was also supported by a UK Medical Research Council Programme Grant (MR/K021389/1) and the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions of the European Community’s Horizon 2020 Program under grant agreement no. 642996 (Brainview).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • ADHD
  • Attention
  • Atypical development
  • Autism
  • Infant
  • Intermediate phenotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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