Recent discussions in the literature, along with the revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) (American Psychiatric Association 2013), suggest aetiological commonalities between the highly comorbid Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Addressing this discussion requires studying these disorders together by comparing constructs typical to each of them. In the present study, we investigate global processing, known to be difficult for participants with ASD, and Intra-Subject
Variability (ISV), known to be consistently increased in participants with ADHD, in
groups, aged 10–13 years, with ADHD (n = 25), ASD without comorbid ADHD (ASD-) (n = 13) and ASD with ADHD (ASD+) (n = 18) in comparison with a typically developing group (n = 22). A Copying task, typically requiring global processing and in this case particularly designed using equally complex stimuli to also measure ISV across trials, was selected. Oculomotor measures in this task proved to be particularly sensitive to group differences. While increased ISV was not observed in the present task in participants with ADHD, both ASD groups looked longer on the figure to be drawn, indicating that global processing takes longer in ASD. ... mehrHowever, the ASD+ group fixated on the figure only between drawing movements, whereas the ASD- group did this throughout the drawing process. The present study provides evidence towards ASD and ADHD being separate, not-overlapping, disorders. Since the pure ASD- group was affected more by central coherence problems than the ASD + group, it may suggest that neuropsychological constructs interact differently in different clinical groups and sub-groups.