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35. Sex Differences in Social Impairment and Executive Function in 9- and 10- year old Children
The theory of a sex-related autism spectrum (Ypma et al., 2016) predicts that neurobiological mechanisms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) should have features which A) correlate across all children with the severity of ASD symptoms, B) differ on average between girls and boys, and C) are present in girls with high levels of autism symptoms. Numerous studies have demonstrated that Executive Function deficits relate to the severity of ASD symptoms in children with the disorder (Christ et al., 2007; Christ and Kanne, 2010). Both Executive Function and Social Impairment have been related to functional connectivity within the frontoparietal and salience networks. Given this pattern, this study will investigate a normally-developing population of 9- and 10-year old children (The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study) to determine whether ASD traits may include frontoparietal and salience networks that affect Executive Function and Social Impairment. Specifically, we will test whether Executive Function deficits and Social Impairment symptoms show the predicted pattern of sex-related relationships, and also whether the observed relationship between Executive Function deficits and Social Impairment symptoms is mediated by functional connectivity within the frontoparietal and salience networks.