Objective : The aim of this systematic review was to examine the intervention on executive function in children and adolescent with Autism Spectrum Disorder(ASD) and to provide evidence regarding occupational therapy.
Methods : Studies for this review were collected by searching the MEDLINE, Scopus, PubMed, ProQuest, Cochrane Library database for articles from January 2006 to December 2016, using the following key word: "Autism or ASD AND Executive function AND Intervention or therapy or approach or treatment or training”A total of 21 studies were included in the analysis.
Results : The results indicated the level of quality, participant characteristics, the type of intervention, component of executive functions used as dependent variable, another dependent variable, and measurement. The articles reviewed eight Level 1 evidence articles(38.1%) and 19 studies were conducted on high-functioning children with ASD. Applied behavior analysis, cognitive-behavioral intervention, complementary and alternative medicine were the most commonly applied interventions. The component of executive function used as a dependent variable was the most cognitive flexibility. The other variables were social skills and behavioral problems, and the measurement tools for each area varied widely. A typical tool were stroop test, digit span, TMT, TOL, BRIEF.
Conclusion : Through this systematic review, we were able to find and understand the trend of intervention on executive function in children and adolescent with ASD. As the executive function defect is a major feature of ASD, various researches related to the evaluation tool and intervention should be actively carried out in the occupational therapy field with an interest in the executive function.