Research Highlight: ASD and Computerized Cognitive Training

Riley Pontello
July 29, 2022

          In episode three of Neurofit Fast Facts the Neurofit Team tied together the results of the previously covered case study with a Systematic Review by an Italian Research Team. Check out that video here.

          The research group examined the effectiveness of 9 studies where Computerized Cognitive Training designed for Executive Functioning Interventions were delivered to children and young people, up to 23 years of age, with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. 

          ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by socio-communicative impairment and the presence of a repetitive and restrictive pattern of behaviors and interests that has a significant negative impact on children’s development.

          Due to significant heterogeneity in phenotypes, individuals living with ASD can experience a wide range of deficits and struggle in multiple areas of life. Due to the strong relationship with behavioral regulation and independent living, executive functioning (EF) is one area of particular relevance for ASD symptomatology. These skills are crucial in mental and physical well-being, academic achievement, and social, psychological, and cognitive development. 

          The researchers compared the effectiveness different CCT programs have on improving EF abilities in individuals living with ASD. Post-Analysis, the researcher’s reported an overall significant improvement in the performance in some executive tasks after a computerized training of Executive Functions. 

          Specifically, the experimental groups improved more than the control groups in the following executive components: attention (both on divided and sustained attention), working memory (both verbal and visual), and inhibitory control through the application of computerized training.

          This systematic review highlights the key benefits of CCT programs can provide. One, these programs can be done almost anywhere! From home, to school, to the clinic. Two, they can be more engaging and interesting to patients than traditional therapy, particularly for children. Lastly, these CCT programs produce measurable, trackable, and significant results for enhancing EF abilities.

          It is always nice to see the work of others aligning with our own at Neurofit. Stay tuned to our page for more Neurofit Fast Fact videos, blog posts, and more!

written by
Riley Pontello
Research and Partnerships Lead at Neurofit VR